De Lille set to continue working despite DA rescinding membership

She maintains that she's still the Cape Town mayor and she will keep coming to work until a court tells her otherwise.

Patricia de Lille addressing the media in Cape Town following the DA's decision to rescind her membership on 8 May 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Patricia de Lille is expected to arrive at work as normal on Wednesday despite her DA membership being rescinded.

She's going to court on Friday to challenge the DA's decision to rescind her membership and thereby boot her from her position.

De Lille has accused the DA of failing to follow their own processes or stick to their principles.

And so, she's again turning to the courts to intervene.

“Now, for months, I have been subjected to slander and attack by DA members before being found guilty of anything.”

She maintains that she's still the Cape Town mayor and she will keep coming to work until a court tells her otherwise.

As for what might be on the horizon for her after the DA, she's playing her cards close to her chest.

“I hug Cyril Ramaphosa at the jazz festival and the people said I want join the ANC. The next week I go to Mama Winnie’s memorial, I’m told I want to join EFF. I’m sure the next time I have coffee with Bantu Holomisa they will say I want to join UDM.”

The DA has received De Lille's court papers; it's studying them and will respond in due course.

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The DA said on Tuesday its national prospects were being hurt by a dispute with De Lille, who has refused to step down despite an order from the party that she must go.

The DA, which appoints the Cape Town leader through its control of the city council, says De Lille has brought the party into disrepute by turning a blind eye towards corruption at city hall. She denies any wrongdoing and says she intends to stay on and clear her name.

The party says that under its rules, De Lille automatically forfeited her membership by indicating during a radio programme last month that she planned to quit the party. She says she will go to court this week to fight that decision.

“I will show on Friday that this so-called automatic cessation clause is unconstitutional, and it is unfairly applied to me,” De Lille said. “I’ve always maintained that my aim only in this matter was to clear my name.”

A party with roots among white liberals from the anti-apartheid era, the DA elected its first black leader three years ago to widen its appeal among voters and improved its national credentials by winning control of three major cities in 2016.

It now promotes itself as a liberal alternative to the African National Congress (ANC) which has ruled the country since the end of apartheid. The DA is hoping to build on its success in local elections by making gains in a national election next year.

Its main campaign theme is to oppose corruption, perceived as a weakness for the ANC after years of rule by Jacob Zuma, removed from the presidency this year by the ruling party after years of corruption investigations. Zuma denies any wrongdoing.

But a perception that the DA’s own public officials have tolerated graft in local office has made it harder for the party to capitalise on the ANC’s vulnerability.

Natasha Mazzone, the DA’s deputy federal chairwoman, said in a statement that it was “no secret that the DA has suffered immeasurable damage” over the De Lille affair. “We recognise that we will need to rebuild trust with the voters.”

The mayor survived a previous bid to remove her through a motion of no-confidence brought by the party.

Tinyiko Maluleke, an independent political analyst, said the De Lille saga could affect the DA’s performance in next year’s election.

“The implications of the De Lille action are far wider and likely to be more impactful than just the elections next year. The reputation of the DA has suffered tremendously,” he said.

At local elections in 2016, the DA took control of South Africa’s capital Pretoria and commercial hub Johannesburg, improving its chances to take on the ANC at the national level.

However, it now faces a resurgent ruling party under new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has vowed to root out corruption and boost economic growth in Africa’s most industrialised economy since the ANC named him to replace Zuma.