ANC claims DA is a party in cri­sis

Rea­sons for De Lille’s res­ig­na­tion queried

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - SIYABONGA SESANT

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

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