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DA, De Lille deal prompted by 2019 elections - Analyst

Gareth van Onselen says dragging out the fiasco even longer would have harmed the party’s ability to entice voters.

Patricia De Lille and DA leader Mmusi Maimane at a press briefing on 5 August 2018. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance’s decision to cut its losses over the Patricia de Lille matter was likely to have been prompted by a need to stem further damage to the party ahead of next year’s polls.

That's the view of one political analyst.

Gareth van Onselen says dragging out the fiasco even longer would have harmed the party’s ability to entice voters.

On Sunday, De Lille said she would resign as Cape Town's first citizen after the DA offered to drop misconduct charges against her. De Lille will officially step down at the end of October.

WATCH: Patricia de Lille resigns as Cape Town mayor

But Van Onselen says while De Lille might have calculated that now was the right time to throw in the towel, people still deserve to know the truth.

“I certainly do not think the people of Cape Town have won as a result of this agreement. For the last 13 months, they have not won. The whole city administration has been held hostage to this fight. That hasn’t been good either.”

De Lille has, however, said there was “no secret deal”.

“My fight was to clear my name. There was no secret deal. I stand to gain nothing from this decision.”

She added that by resigning, she’s not trying to dodge a disciplinary process and her lawyer was ready to start pre-trial proceedings on Monday.

“People shouldn’t think I’m running away from anything. I want the allegations to be tested, but they need to be backed up by evidence.

But Van Onselen believes the agreement has robbed citizens of Cape Town of answers. He says De Lille has been disingenuous not to offer an explanation.

“This is someone who has built her reputation on exposing corruption and then putting pressure on, particularly the ANC, to explain itself to the public and whatever disciplinary hearing there was or was not going to be. She had the onus to the citizens that she governs to explain her actions and to explain that SMS to them (sic).”

De Lille maintains the allegations against her are baseless as they are not backed up by any concrete evidence, which the party has been unable to provide.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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