DA an­nounce­ment on De Lille to­day

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - POLITICS - BULELWA PAYI

THE DA’s high­est de­ci­sion-mak­ing body is to make an an­nounce­ment on Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia De Lille to­day amid grow­ing ten­sions be­tween her and the party.

The DA’s fed­eral coun­cil held its first sit­ting of the year from Fri­day to dis­cuss sev­eral is­sues in­clud­ing De Lille.

How­ever, the party would not dis­close spe­cific de­tails on the an­nounce­ment re­gard­ing the “De Lille mat­ter”. But her fu­ture as mem­ber of the party and mayor of Cape Town has been hang­ing in the bal­ance fol­low­ing wide-rang­ing al­le­ga­tions in­clud­ing about the se­cu­rity up­grade at her res­i­dence, mis­man­age­ment and the cover-up of cor­rup­tion by some of­fi­cials.

De Lille has de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

A DA in­sider said the an­nounce­ment was likely to be on whether the party was to ter­mi­nate her mem­ber­ship as it did not have the power to re­move her as mayor.

“The worst they can do is to sus­pend her mem­ber­ship and that will mean she will no longer be a coun­cil­lor.

“The process of ap­peal against such a de­ci­sion might take long,” the source said.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Daniel Silke agreed with this view, say­ing it was pos­si­ble that in light of the strained re­la­tions with De Lille, the DA might be forced to re­con­sider her mem­ber­ship.

“She’s taken her bat­tle too far and in do­ing so has dug her own po­lit­i­cal grave in the DA.

“Even if they had some pa­tience with her, that has de­clined fur­ther,” Silke said.

Over the past week ten­sions be­tween De Lille and the DA reached boil­ing point with a height­ened war of words and with De Lille tak­ing the party to court over the up­com­ing mo­tion of no con­fi­dence on Thurs­day, brought against her by the DA coun­cil cau­cus.

In her court bid, De Lille wants the mem­bers of the DA cau­cus in the coun­cil to be al­lowed to vote in ac­cor­dance with their con­science.

She also wants the DA fed­eral and pro­vin­cial ex­ec­u­tive to be in­ter­dicted from “in­flu­enc­ing” cau­cus mem­bers and that vot­ing should be done in a se­cret bal­lot.

A date has yet to be set for the court to hear the mat­ter, but on Fri­day the DA is­sued a re­sponse warn­ing De Lille not to pur­sue the court bid, say­ing it “had no le­gal ba­sis” and was “disin­gen­u­ous”.

There are 154 DA coun­cil­lors in the City of Cape Town and 79 op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors.

A source said re­cent events had shown that De Lille had scored the sup­port of 59 DA cau­cus mem­bers and if op­po­si­tion party coun­cil­lors were also to vote against the mo­tion of no con­fi­dence, the move to re­move her as mayor would be de­feated.

The DA also threat­ened to seek a pu­ni­tive costs award against De Lille for what it termed the “abuse of the court’s process” with “point­less and un­founded lit­i­ga­tion”.

By late yes­ter­day it was not clear whether De Lille would still push ahead with the le­gal ac­tion.

Her le­gal de­fence team re­ferred ques­tions to her, but nei­ther she nor her spokesper­son were avail­able for com­ment.

The po­lit­i­cal im­passe be­tween the par­ties sur­faced af­ter al­le­ga­tions made by the city’s may­oral ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber, JP Smith, in Septem­ber last year, re­gard­ing se­cu­rity up­grades at De Lille’s pri­vate house, with claims that the city footed the bill.

But De Lille de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and said she had sub­mit­ted ev­i­dence to prove she paid for some of the up­grades her­self.

A re­cent au­di­tor-gen­eral’s re­port ques­tioned the pay­ments for the se­cu­rity up­grades, prompt­ing DA West­ern Cape leader Bonginkosi Madik­izela to la­bel De Lille’s claims “bla­tantly false” and “mis­lead­ing”.

A Johannesburg busi­ness­man claimed last week that De Lille had tried to so­licit a bribe, which De Lille de­nied.

How­ever, a source close to the DA said the al­le­ga­tions against De Lille were not re­lated to her “be­ing able to hold the may­oral of­fice” but ran deeper than that.

“Things will un­ravel in the next few weeks.

“This whole bat­tle is about money and who wanted to ben­e­fit,” he charged.

The source also ques­tioned the “in­ter­fer­ence in coun­cil mat­ters” by Maimane and other DA se­nior mem­bers.

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

Mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille speaks at a re­cent may­oral coun­cil meet­ing at the civic cen­tre.

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