De Lille wins round one
AS the fight between the Democratic Alliance and Patricia de Lille rages on, the embattled mayor has been thrown a lifeline by the courts. She has managed to secure a victory that keeps her in her position but its only temporary as the judgement in the entire case is expected on May 25.
The case will however shine a spotlight on the internal dynamics of the organisation. It will will leave the party battered and bruised and there is no way that can be avoided. The recent resignation by Nosimo Balindlela from the party is just another sign of things to come for South Africa’s opposition.
There are many ways one can look at the situation in the DA but history has taught us in South Africa that sympathy is a serious currency in politics.
De Lille’s sacking and subsequent expulsion has similarities to what happened to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu when they were kicked out of the ANC. Fast forward to a few years later, they launched their own party and eroded the ANC’s support base.
What’s different with De Lille is that she already had her own support base when she merged her Independent Democrats with the DA. While she was within the DA and as a mayor, she grew that support and attracted new voters to her side.
The people of Cape Town, majority of them were in support of her and her leadership style. That is why the decision by the party was buffling to say the least. The entire debacle has exposed the high levels of intolerance that exists in the party.
In their desire to get rid of De Lille at all cost, they have opened themselves up to public scrutiny and have shown the double standards they use to deal with members. De Lille was accused of bringing the party into disrepute but the same could not have been said about the way they handled Helen Zille when she tweeted about colonialism.
Despite having defended her tweets and continuing to speak of such, she still remains a member of the party. She was not shown the door. The decision will have serious implications for the party heading into the 2019 elections. The Democratic Alliance with Mmusi Maimane at the helm will lose ground and subsequently that will open the flood gates for more bloodbath.
Once that happens, Maimane himself will be thrown to the dogs and met by the same treatment. There is a saying that what goes around comes around and many within the party, particularly the black leaders will learn this the hard way.
The decision was rushed and not properly thought out. Apart from losing support, the looming court case will also expose how the party decides to selectively implement its rules and constitution. Its going to devide the party on the basis of colour. Its going to highlight the discrepancies that are associated with party rules and procedures. Whatever happens with the case, the party has alienated black voters.
Whatever happens in the court rooms, the party will never be the same. It has clearly defined itself as anti black and pro white interests and agendas.