De Lille faces survival battle as second no-confidence motion to be debated

A second motion of no confidence in her is set to be debated by the city council today, after a previous attempt by the DA's city caucus failed at the ballot box in February.

FILE: 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 – Mayor Patricia de Lille will again be fighting for her political survival on Thursday, as members of her caucus launch another attempt to oust her.

A second motion of no confidence in her is set to be debated by the city council today, after a previous attempt by the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s city caucus failed at the ballot box in February.

The caucus says that her poor leadership style has created an irreconcilable loss of confidence in her leadership and the many unanswered questions stemming from allegations against her has created distrust.

De Lille's caucus has harsh words about her leadership style.

According to the motion to be debated by the full council today, she’s intimidating, belittling, condescending, demeaning and intolerant.

Veteran councillor Marian Nieuwoudt, who has tabled the motion, says that De Lille displays unbecoming behaviour towards fellow councillors, a clear testament she says, of De Lille's poor leadership.

Nieuwoudt says the controversy around De Lille creates distrust in her ability to carry out her obligations.

Deputy caucus leader JP Smith says: “The situation hasn’t changed. The last votes we’ve seen, 70% or slightly more of the DA caucus no longer have confidence in Patricia de Lille as the mayor."

But with De Lille still enjoying minority support from the DA, today's vote remains unpredictable should the opposition once again chose to come to her rescue.

Mayor Patricia de Lille is not the only councillor whose confidence will be called into question at a council meeting today.

The ANC wants to see City Speaker Dirk Smit removed from his chair.

The party says that he's biased against opposition parties and ignored their objection to the curtailment of De Lille's executive powers at a previous meeting.

Parties will be voting this afternoon on a motion for his removal, his first in 12 years.

Smit has presided over city council meetings since 2006, after the position of Speaker was offered to the Freedom Front Plus as part of a multi-party coalition agreement with the DA.

Smit joined the DA three years later and continued to serve as Speaker.

But the ANC says that his general conduct and decisions during council meetings are inconsistent with the rules of order and natural justice.

They also say that he's openly undermined De Lille by allowing her deputy, Ian Neilson, to answer questions meant for her.

ANC council leader Xolani Sotashe: "He's not protecting the image of the city council, and we do not believe that he's up to task now."

The DA says it's always been its view that Smit has pandered to opposition demands, and that he's a good, consistent, and ethical Speaker.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)