CEASEFIRE: Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and DA leader Mmusi Maimane arrive at the SunSquare Hotel to announce her resignation as mayor, with all the party’s charges against her withdrawn.Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The sudden resignation of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has left her fiercest critic, JP Smith, bitter, saying it was an admission of guilt.

Smith, a member of De Lille’s mayoral committee, said the truth would never come out.

After more than 10 months of mudslinging and court cases, the DA and De Lille have decided to put an end to it with De Lille resigning - but retaining her DA membership -and the party dropping all charges against her. DA leader Mmusi Maimane and De Lille appeared at a press conference together, announcing the decision.

“There were several councillors who were ready to testify against Patricia, because just as she was worried about her reputation, we also suffered reputational damage. We wanted the truth out. She knew that disciplinary hearings were to be held in camera and are not open to the media. The party called her bluff, and then this happened,” said Smith, who is also deputy DA caucus leader in the City.

Smith said those who were willing to testify against De Lille included Xanthea Limberg, mayco member for water and sanitation, deputy mayor Ian Neilson and councillor Steve Bryant.

Asked about the way forward, Smith said: “We are still going ahead with changing the delegations . Other than that we are continuing what needs to be done until the end of October. We are trying to rebuild the workings in the caucus and rebuilding what had been broken down. The party has also started with the process of getting a new mayor. Up until such time we are returning to a state of normality.”

ANC City caucus leader Xolani Sotashe said the arrangement would not change facts on the ground.

“The polls are showing massive decline in DA support and that ANC is fast closing the gap. This is driving the DA desperation to settle the De Lille matter even if it means covering the allegations of corruption and nepotism they accuse her of.”

De Lille said she was sad that things had ended this way. “I have always fought for a fair process and by going to court three times was about me getting a fair process.”

Maimane said at the press briefing: “As a party that prides itself on clean government, we were obliged to consider all allegations levelled against De Lille. It is never easy to take action against one of your own. But I am confident that, throughout this painful period, we have acted in the best interests of the citizens we serve.”

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Cape Argus