ANC claims DA is a party in crisis
Reasons for De Lille’s resignation queried
IF SHE wanted to run for the premiership of the Western Cape in 2019, she could, mayor Patricia de Lille told the Cape Argus in an exclusive interview this week, stifling rumours her “aspiration to become premier” had been “halted by DA bosses”.
De Lille announced she was stepping down as provincial leader of the party to focus all her energy on “taking Cape Town to the next level”.
Opposition parties were, however, not convinced and wasted no time poking holes at De Lille’s reasoning, saying her resignation came amid a “crisis” in the DA.
The three biggest opposition parties in the DA-led province – ANC, EFF and African Christian Democratic Party – have all said De Lille may have given up on the provincial leadership role, due to an apparent lack of internal support from top DA structures.
“We believe she had aspirations of becoming the premier of the Western Cape and we believe those aspirations have been halted by the bosses of the DA,” ACDP provincial leader Ferlon Christians said.
The EFF’s Bernard Joseph added: “It’s quite clear there’s trouble in the house of the DA. There appears to be a conflict of interest between the black members and the white members of the party, so I don’t buy De Lille’s excuse.
“What we’ll do is utilise this opportunity to make inroads come 2019.”
De Lille has, however, been adamant that she has no plans to run for the position of premier. “If I want to run for the premiership in 2019, I can,” De Lille said, but indicated her focus remained on overseeing the rollout of the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP).
She explained that the DA’s constitution was set up so that the provincial leader of the party was not an automatic candidate for premiership; and that premiers were elected via internal electoral colleges.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s spokesperson Mabine Seabe yesterday called the premier succession talks “premature discussions”.
Maimane, who has accepted De Lille’s resignation, said that, as the most experienced mayor, De Lille “will also focus on helping the DA govern well in our metros”.
In its statement, the ANC described De Lille as a good mayor, but “by DA standards”.
ANC provincial acting chairperson Khaya Magaxa said: “De Lille has increased the DA’s majority in the Cape Town Metro and the province.
“Provincial leadership of the DA is literally begging her to come and expand her work. This is the road Premier Helen Zille herself took, but De Lille is doing it in a manner that renders Zille’s journey almost amateurish.
“De Lille is coloured, in a 50 percent-plus majority province. The heights she can reach are unimaginable.”
Provincial ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko clarified that the statement was not pro-De Lille and that her resignation was indicative of “a party in crisis”.
DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said an acting provincial leader would be chosen at the provincial council meeting, which was likely to take place on February 24.
EXPERIENCED: Patricia de Lille