DA apologises for its messy break-up with De Lille

08 May 2018 - 10:04 By Philani Nombembe
Natasha Mazzone with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. File photo.
Natasha Mazzone with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. File photo.
Image: Trevor Samson

The DA admitted on Tuesday that its rift with Patricia de Lille damaged its relationship with voters.

Announcing that De Lille was no longer a party member after she declared in a radio interview that she was “walking away”‚ the DA said it apologised for the impact of the break-up on the City of Cape Town.

“This has been a confusing time for the citizens of Cape Town‚” Natasha Mazzone‚ deputy chairwoman of the DA Federal Council‚ told a media briefing at party headquarters in Cape Town.

“Our priority is to restore stability and coherence to the city government so that we can continue to provide excellent and responsive services to the people of the city.

“We recognise that we will need to rebuild trust with the voters and will do our utmost best to ensure that we get back to the business of governing Cape Town.”

Mazzone said the party was “deeply concerned” about the impact the De Lille affair had had on the residents of Cape Town.

The DA’s federal executive has announced the cessation of Patricia de Lille’s DA membership on May 8 2018. The deputy mayor Ian Neilson will now step in as temporary mayor of Cape Town.

“It is no secret that the DA has suffered immeasurable damage because of this issue due to the lack of information presented to our voters‚” she said.

De Lille told TimesLIVE she would respond to the DA announcement at a news conference being arranged for 11am on Tuesday.

The DA’s unhappiness with De Lille began last July‚ when mayoral committee member JP Smith submitted a report to party leader Mmusi Maimane and federal executive chairman James Selfe headed: “Complaint: Conduct of Patricia de Lille and state of governance in City of Cape Town council.”

Since then‚ the party has made numerous attempts to oust De Lille‚ and she has responded vigorously‚ including taking legal action.

Selfe said on Tuesday that as a result of the DA federal legal commission decision that De Lille was no longer a party member‚ the disciplinary action against her would not proceed.

De Lille’s radio interview with Eusebius McKaiser on CapeTalk on April 26 cost De Lille her job‚ according to the DA.

Selfe said she twice indicated that she intended to resign from the party as soon as she had cleared her name.

“Ms De Lille was invited to explain why she had not‚ as a matter of fact‚ ceased to be a member by virtue of this section when she admitted that she intended to resign‚” said Selfe.

“She attempted to argue that this referred to resigning as mayor. Accordingly‚ the federal executive resolved last night to endorse the finding of the federal legal commission that her membership had ceased as of 26 April‚ the date of the 702 interview. We have informed Ms de Lille and the city manager of this fact.”

Selfe said it was no longer necessary for the party to proceed with the disciplinary enquiry. “The fact that she has ceased to be a member renders the other processes (the disciplinary and the accountability clause) moot‚” he said.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson would act in De Lille’s stead in the short term.

“We wish Ms De Lille well future endeavours and thank her for her service she has given the party‚” said Selfe.

Patricia de Lille said she is fighting back against the Democratic Alliance federal executive’s decision to boot her out of the DA as well as out of her position as mayor of Cape Town.