The DA caucus voted to reduce Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille role to that of a “ceremonial” mayor. Picture: Phando Jikelo/ANA
Cape Town - Mayor Patricia de Lille says the “baaskap mentality” in the DA City caucus has plunged to such depths that the latest move to reduce her powers feels like carrying a passbook.

She hit back after the party’s caucus voted to reduce her role to that of a “ceremonial” mayor.

The caucus took the issue to a full council meeting yesterday, where it was passed, with 137 councillors voting in favour, 50 against and two abstained.

Read: 'Disrespectful' DA councillors turn their backs on #DeLille

DA caucus in bid to remove De Lille's executive powers

This means that all her delegated powers and legislative authority have been reassigned. 

Even De Lille’s travel, local and international, must be considered by the mayoral committee and if there is no consensus, the matter will be referred to the Speaker for approval.

De Lille said she would go to court and challenge the new structure.

“I now have to ask the baas first whether I can do anything or go anywhere. I reserve my rights and will continue to go where communities invite me,” said De Lille.

Thursday’s decision came as De Lille was preparing for her case at the Western Cape High Court, challenging the DA’s decision to end her membership.

She had scored a victory when the same court reinstated her as mayor pending the outcome of her application to be heard on June 4 and 5.

When De Lille was addressing the council meeting, some DA councillors turned their backs on her in an act of defiance. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA

In his judgment, Judge Patrick Gamble had said it was necessary to grant the interim relief in favour of De Lille out of concern for the impact on service delivery for the people of Cape Town, the passing of the draft budget as well as the water crisis.

He said he was “genuinely concerned” about the harm which De Lille’s loss of office has for Capetonians.

De Lille’s “pro-poor” budget was passed on Wednesday.

The judge had also said there were important decisions “which crop” up almost daily around planning and the persistent problems around land invasions.

Instead, De Lille says she has now been reduced to a ceremonial mayor, as the DA had threatened immediately after Judge Gamble’s ruling.

“After all these months I have not been found guilty of any charge, either through a disciplinary (hearing) or anything else,” De Lille said.

“I have only had the court finding in my favour on all matters I took to court, so there is no justification for why the DA bosses are doing this.

“They have not given any reasons why they are doing this and they are implementing these changes without consulting me.

“Service delivery takes place in the communities and not in boardrooms. This will have a severe impact on service delivery.”

She said she reserved her rights and would continue to go where communities invited her. De Lille said the infighting and tension among DA councillors was like a boxing match.

“I’m ready and waiting for the next round,” she said.

When De Lille was addressing the council meeting, some DA councillors turned their backs on her in an act of defiance.

De Lille ignored the gestures made by a number of councillors, including metro chairperson Grant Twigg and councillors Malusi Booi and Angus Mckenzie.

While she was unfazed, ANC opposition leader Xolani Sotashe pointed out the defiance, saying: “Look at this nonsense. How can they be so disrespectful to the mayor while the mayor is speaking.”

In tabling the motion to strip De Lille of her powers, deputy mayor Ian Neilson told the full council meeting that “given the current state of affairs as observed by the court, and noting that ongoing legal processes may continue for some time, a new structure of power is required under the circumstances in order to ensure more effective service delivery than that which pertains in the status quo”.

Cape Times