‘Patricia de Lille is no longer our leader so there is no working relationship'

JP Smith says the City of Cape Town mayor’s working relationship with 75% of the caucus is destroyed.

Patricia de Lille addressing the media after the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday granted her interim relief to return as Cape Town mayor and DA member. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says a court ruling suspending a decision to rescind Patricia de Lille’s party membership is not a victory and simply buys her an extra 10 days in the mayor’s office.

The Western Cape High Court has on Tuesday ordered De Lille be reinstated as executive mayor along with the mayoral committee which served under her before she was removed.

The decision is pending De Lille’s challenge of a clause in the DA’s constitution on 25 May.

Deputy caucus leader in the Cape Town council JP Smith says the instability affects service delivery in the city.

Smith says De Lille’s working relationship with 75% of the caucus is destroyed.

“The clear majority of our councillors, three-quarters of them. She is no longer our leader so there is no working relationship. She will effectively be a lame duck mayor.”

Deputy mayor and leader of the caucus Ian Neilson says while it respects the court ruling, De Lille won’t have any executive decision-making powers.

“The judges didn’t understand the dynamics here in the council. Their decision hasn’t created better stability but has created greater problems at a political level.”

The DA’s Cape Town Metro chairperson Grant Twigg says the court ruling has set Cape Town back.


De Lille may have been reinstated as Cape Town's executive mayor, but the extent of her powers is in question.

On Monday the DA's Cape Town caucus outlined reasons why they’d lost confidence in De Lille.

After Tuesday’s ruling, De Lille was asked whether she’s concerned about going back to work with the clear tension between her and some of her fellow councillors.

“I will go back there… I’ve always reached out to everyone. We have to rise above our differences for the sake of the people of Cape Town. We need to overcome this drought. We’re in the penultimate stage of finalising the budget, so there’s a lot of work to be done.”

But the DA’s Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela says De Lille will only act in a “ceremonial role” with significant governance decisions being taken by the DA caucus.

“It’s a very difficult situation because this has been coming in for some time and what you’re seeing is a result of the experiences they shared on Monday.”

Judge Patrick Gamble in his ruling noted that should De Lille be successful on 25 May, she can decide to change her Mayco, but he has warned this “chopping and changing” of leadership won’t be in the interest of government and citizens.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)