Feud With South Africa Opposition Costs Cape Town Mayor Her JobBy
De Lille loses DA membership for breaching party rules
Mayor says she will challenge decision to fire her in court
Patricia de Lille has been fired as Cape Town’s mayor after South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance expelled her from its ranks following a long-running feud.
De Lille’s membership was revoked for breaching the DA’s rules, rendering her ineligible to continue serving as mayor, James Selfe, chairman of the party’s Federal Executive body, told reporters in the city Tuesday. It named her deputy, Ian Nielsen, as acting mayor.
De Lille commands a strong following in Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province, and her fallout with the DA could cost it support in national elections scheduled to take place around the middle of next year. The feud comes at a time when the city of 4 million people is grappling with water shortages caused by the worst drought on record and violent protests by poor communities demanding housing and land.
“The DA have never fully disclosed what De Lille has done wrong and they will have lost the trust of a large voting group,” Melanie Verwoerd, an independent political analyst, said by phone from Johannesburg.
De Lille said she would file a lawsuit aimed at reversing the party’s decision.
“The DA have denied me due process through the party to clear my name and that is why we have the courts,” she told reporters in Cape Town after the DA briefing.
— With assistance by Michael Cohen