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De Lille, Smith spat probe ‘could affect DA governance in CT’

Professor Erwin Schwella says the longer the investigation takes, the more harm it'll do to the party's image.

Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille addresses the media at a water briefing in Cape Town. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A political analyst says the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) investigation into a public spat between two senior party members could affect the governance of the City of Cape Town.

A month ago, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and Mayoral Committee member JP Smith were placed on special leave from party activities until the conclusion of a DA Federal Executive investigation.

The probe was launched after party leader Mmusi Maimane met with de Lille and Smith over their public feud.

Western Cape party leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has admitted public spats like the one between de Lille and Smith concerns him, as it would any leader.

“But the good thing about the party is that we acted swiftly and we will get to the bottom of it. Of course, it is concerning.”

Professor Erwin Schwella says the longer the investigation takes, the more harm it'll do to the party's image and could in turn start affecting the governance of the City of Cape Town.

“That can affect service delivery, the perceptions and the perspectives of the public on the way in which the city is governed and therefore whether the DA is a well-functioning and well-run party.”

The DA says the sub-committee is still conducting interviews with caucus members as part of the probe, but no details of the process have been given.

Schwella says in the past the DA succeeded in conducting probes quite quicker than this.

“If you recall the Dianne Kohler Barnard episode and a couple of the others they’ve always been somewhat quicker.”

He says it might be taking longer because of the seriousness of the issue.

“Look at what happened at the DA provincial leadership election ... it came out very close and shows that there is a strong resistance building up to the current leadership style and processes.”

Meanwhile, Smith's lawyers are investigating what he claims is a smear campaign against him.