Cape Town - The City of Cape Town caucus has supported the motion of no confidence to sack Patricia de Lille as mayor and leader of the DA caucus.
But soon after the vote, De Lille said this was but the first round of a boxing match.
“In the boxing game you win one round and you lose one round but in the end somebody gives the knockout (blow). This (defeat) is not a knockout, this is part of the process and I will continue to fight for fairness and for justice,” said De Lille.
Soon after the vote DA deputy caucus leader JP Smith said: “The caucus in Cape Town conceded the motion brought forward by councillor (Angus) Mackenzie, a motion of no confidence in the leader of the DA caucus. We had a debate around the matter and we discussed it as some length, in a calm and respectful debate.
“A vote took place by secret ballot, the DA caucus supported the motion and is hereby requesting the Fedex to remove the mayor as the leader of the caucus and as the mayor of the City of Cape Town. This result will be communicated to Fedex and the matter will be left in the hands of the Fedex,” said Smith.
Inside the chamber there were no signs of triumphant chest-thumping from De Lille’s detractors as councillors made their way out, and the mayor and her team gathered in her office.
Earlier in the day, according to a leaked Whatsapp message from MacKenzie, the meeting had descended into chaos and had to be postponed as supporters and opponents of De Lille came to blows.
The meeting was chaired by Smith, one of De Lille’s fiercest critics in the Cape Town council who has had several run-ins with her.
The DA’s leadership in the council, and in the Western Cape have sought to see the back of De Lille charging that they had lost confidence in her because she had “divided” the caucus, and her “dictatorial” leadership style.
De Lille’s problems started in September last year after first disbanded the Cape Town metro police’s special investigative unit ostensibly because they had breached their mandate, and started investigating councillors.
One of the claims, since spread anonymously was that De Lille had used ratepayers money to pay for security upgrades to her private home, a move council Speaker Dirk Smit insisted that she was entitled to.
In February the DA failed in its first attempt to axe De Lille when she survived the axe by one vote, through support from rebel DA councillors and all of the opposition.
After the DA passed its “De Lille Clause” at its recent federal congress, efforts to remove her might be less complicated as the party foregoes the full council sitting for a decision to be made by the party’s caucus.
De Lille earlier on Wednesday slammed the reasons advanced by her party to oust her. She said communities and people on the ground still had confidence in her as the mayor of Cape Town.
“I have had 25 community meetings this month. None of the community members I engaged with indicated that they have lost confidence in me. This begs the question whether the councillors, who say they have lost confidence in me, ever consulted with their communities.
“Therefore, when they vote today they will be representing their jackets and for many of them it will be their own ambition which is the deciding factor on how they vote,” said De Lille.