PEACEMAKER: Helen Zille. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency/ANA.
Cape Town - Premier Helen Zille has emerged as the behind-the-scenes mediator between mayor Patricia de Lille and the DA in a bid to end the spat between the two.

The three parties held talks this week in a bid to find a settlement outside of the courts. But there seems to be a stalemate as De Lille refused to resign as mayor, a prerequisite from the DA. The Cape Argus is in possession of a letter De Lille sent to Zille in which she makes it clear that she will not accept a proposal that requires her to resign.

“I see that the party maintains that any settlement must include my resignation, and I am struggling to understand the reasons for that. I do not accept that the so-called ‘loss of confidence’ in me is insurmountable. I have had caucus members who voted against me visit me in my office to explain how they felt pressured, and regretted their vote,” De Lille wrote.

“I am confident that I can win back the confidence of the vast majority of the caucus through a facilitated process or through my own efforts,” De Lille added.

The DA and De Lille have been at loggerheads after De Lille was ousted by the party. The Western Cape High Court, however, found that her axing was invalid because the party’s federal legal commission had been improperly constituted.

De Lille took the DA to court after her radio comments that she would resign from her position (as mayor) after she cleared her name. In her letter, De Lille also said the DA City of Cape Town caucus based their no-confidence motions largely on untested, unsubstantiated allegations.

“You will see how superficial these motions are if you consider the first motion by councillor Mercia Kleinsmith where she claims I proposed an alternative water tariff in a special council meeting. I did no such thing,” De Lille said.

“I need to understand the reasons why the party will only accept a settled outcome that has me resigning. I repeat that I am willing to subject myself to having all of these allegations tested and prosecuted in a properly constituted disciplinary hearing,” she said.

Questions sent to Zille and her office were not responded to. But the DA’s communications director, Mabine Seabe, said they had always been open to a settlement.

“It is in the interest of the people of Cape Town that the matter between the DA and Ms De Lille is resolved as quickly as possible. Pursuant to that, we will explore all possible options and engage all sides. Our mission is to get back to the business of delivering services to the people of Cape Town and the Western Cape. It is essential that we are not distracted from that,” Seabe said.

“We have always been open to a settlement that would see De Lille depart as mayor and which would obviate the need for a long, drawn-out process. She cannot remain the mayor as her own caucus has irrevocably lost confidence in her. That is the bottom line.”


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Cape Argus