Cape Town - The DA’s highest decision-making body is to make an announcement on Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille today amid growing tensions between her and the party.
The DA's federal council held its first sitting of the year from Friday to discuss several issues including De Lille.
However, the party would not disclose specific details on the announcement regarding the “De Lille matter”. But her future as member of the party and mayor of Cape Town has been hanging in the balance following wide-ranging allegations including about the security upgrade at her residence, mismanagement and the cover-up of corruption by some officials.
De Lille has denied any wrongdoing.
A DA insider said the announcement was likely to be on whether the party was to terminate her membership as it did not have the power to remove her as mayor.
“The worst they can do is to suspend her membership and that will mean she will no longer be a councillor."
"The process of appeal against such a decision might take long,” the source said.
Political analyst Daniel Silke agreed with this view, saying it was possible that in light of the strained relations with De Lille, the DA might be forced to reconsider her membership.
“She’s taken her battle too far and in doing so has dug her own political grave in the DA.
"Even if they had some patience with her, that has declined further,” Silke said.
Over the past week tensions between De Lille and the DA reached boiling point with a heightened war of words and with De Lille taking the party to court over the upcoming motion of no confidence on Thursday, brought against her by the DA council caucus.
In her court bid, De Lille wants the members of the DA caucus in the council to be allowed to vote in accordance with their conscience.
She also wants the DA federal and provincial executive to be interdicted from "influencing" caucus members and that voting should be done in a secret ballot.
A date has yet to be set for the court to hear the matter, but on Friday the DA issued a response warning De Lille not to pursue the court bid, saying it “had no legal basis” and was “disingenuous”.
There are 154 DA councillors in the City of Cape Town and 79 opposition councillors.
A source said recent events had shown that De Lille had scored the support of 59 DA caucus members and if opposition party councillors were also to vote against the motion of no confidence, the move to remove her as mayor would be defeated.
The DA also threatened to seek a punitive costs award against De Lille for what it termed the “abuse of the court’s process” with “pointless and unfounded litigation”.
By late on Saturday it was not clear whether De Lille would still push ahead with the legal action.
Her legal defence team referred questions to her, but neither she nor her spokesperson were available for comment.
The political impasse between the parties surfaced after allegations made by the city’s mayoral executive member, JP Smith, in September last year, regarding security upgrades at De Lille’s private house, with claims that the city footed the bill.
But De Lille denied the allegations and said she had submitted evidence to prove she paid for some of the upgrades herself.
A recent auditor-general’s report questioned the payments for the security upgrades, prompting DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela to label De Lille’s claims “blatantly false” and “misleading”.
A Johannesburg businessman claimed last week that De Lille had tried to solicit a bribe, which De Lille denied.
However, a source close to the DA said the allegations against De Lille were not related to her “being able to hold the mayoral office” but ran deeper than that.
“Things will unravel in the next few weeks.
"This whole battle is about money and who wanted to benefit,” he charged.
The source also questioned the “interference in council matters” by Maimane and other DA senior members.