Peace breaks out in DA as De Lille agrees to walk away from mayor's office

Patricia de Lille in the Cape Town High Court on Monday in the latest installment of her drawn-out battle with the Democratic Alliance
Patricia de Lille in the Cape Town High Court on Monday in the latest installment of her drawn-out battle with the Democratic Alliance
Image: Esa Alexander

Thirteen months after the first shots were fired‚ the DA and its Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille declared a truce on Sunday.

Appearing together at a Cape Town news conference‚ De Lille and DA leader Mmusi Maimane said they had agreed the mayor would step down on October 31‚ after a “smooth transition” to her successor.

De Lille will remain a DA member‚ but neither she nor Maimane would say what role the veteran politician might play in the party. There have been suggestions that she will become an MP or a member of the Western Cape legislature.

The two politicians seemed relaxed and happy in each other’s company after a fraught 13 months which has seen De Lille and the DA at war in court‚ disciplinary hearings‚ caucus and council meetings and numerous press conferences where they have flung dirt at each other.

Hostilities broke out on July 12‚ 2017‚ when Cape Town mayoral committee member JP Smith sent a closely-spaced 11-page report to Maimane and DA federal council chairman James Selfe headed: “Complaint: Conduct of Patricia de Lille and state of governance in City of Cape Town Council”.

It outlined 16 issues in which Smith and other members of the City of Cape Town DA caucus believed De Lille had erred‚ and said: “It is best to resolve the conflict now‚ remove the causes of the tension and start rebuilding the unit‚ collective vision and cooperation of the caucus.”

Thirteen months later‚ and with less than a year to the national and provincial elections‚ De Lille and Maimane said at Sunday’s news conference their agreement finally made that possible.

Maimane said: “This has been a long and difficult journey. The matter has already gone on for too long and has sapped the energies and attentions of both parties from our core work‚ for which we apologise.”

De Lille said: “While I have been fighting for my rights to prove my innocence‚ and although I was ready to proceed with my disciplinary hearing‚ I also realise that this fight between myself and the DA cannot continue forever.

“Now that the DA have withdrawn the charges against me and I have cleared my name‚ I have decided to step aside.”

Maimane said candidates to take over as mayor would have to put their names forward‚ adding that there was no predetermined outcome such as giving the job to the DA leader in the Western Cape‚ Bonginkosi Madikizela.

"The DA doesn't reward people with public office‚ we find the best people for public office‚" he said.

"I'm looking for the best person to lead the City of Cape Town and deliver services to the people."

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