Cape Town - Cape Town mayor-elect Patricia de Lille has defended her choice of mayoral committee, saying they were the team that led the DA to a two-thirds majority victory in the city in last week’s municipal polls.
De Lille has chosen to leave her mayco of 11 members largely unchanged, making two adjustments to replace councillors who did not stand for re-election.
“The voters have spoken. This is the same team that delivered. Where does colour fit in?” De Lille said in response to tweets that have criticised the racial composition of her advisory panel.
“That is a very white council. DA ain’t serious or not interested in transformation,” tweeted Biki Nketsi.
Tshepo Phetla wanted to know whether the DA would appoint mayoral teams in Tshwane and Joburg which reflected the demographics of those cities.
“This racist party will never change, token blacks just to fill the quota #DaNeverlovedUS,” posted uB0NGA.
Lethabo17 said: “We just want diversity to prove that the party is really for everyone.”
De Lille said she was fed-up with the DA being criticised based on race. “I’m sick and tired of this nonsense. I am a black woman and I don’t agree with not seeing coloured people as black,” she said. “I will define myself and I am a black woman.”
De Lille said her new mayco had been chosen based on capability and not race.
“I will identify people who are capable, who have worked with me the past five years, that have produced the two-thirds majority. Do you think I must just write that off because they are white?”
ANC mayoral candidate Xolani Sotashe and the leader of the opposition in the council, Tony Ehrenreich, said De Lille’s list was a slap in the face for women.
“We hear the DA say it runs an inclusive city, yet their leadership consists of mostly white males, with only three women out of 13, and that’s besides more than half of them (Mayco) being white,” Ehrenreich said.
Sotashe said: “The DA will do whatever it likes. We see white men who have political connections in the business sector holding on to the power in leadership positions. Nothing has changed in the Cape metro and the poor will be the ones who suffer yet again.”
The newcomers to the committee are Anda Ntsondo, who takes over the community services portfolio from Belinda Walker, who has retired, while Eddie Andrews replaces Gareth Bloor in the economic development, events and tourism portfolio.
Ian Neilson is set to retain his position as Cape Town deputy mayor, Dirk Smit remains as Speaker and Shaun August as the new DA whip in council.
Unchanged too are Brett Herron (transport), Jean-Pierre Smith (safety), Xanthea Limberg (corporate services), Ernest Sonnenberg (utilities), Benedicta van Minnen (human settlements), Johan van der Merwe (energy and environment planning), Siya Mamkeli (health) and Suzette Little (social development).
Ehrenreich said: “What we are seeing is an elitist group of white men who have no regard for women and the poor. Employment equity laws obviously do not apply to the DA.
“As the ANC we will continue pressurising the DA to have the voices of women and the poor heard in council.”
Asked about only appointing three women to her mayco, De Lille said: “Women are not the panacea for all our problems.”
De Lille said she had chosen to replace two former white mayco members and the DA’s chief whip in council, with black men.
De Lille said Andrews , a former Stormers and Springbok rugby player, had been an outstanding sub-council chairman in Mitchells Plain, winning his ward with 98 percent of the vote in these municipal polls.
“He showed good leadership capability. He’s a good public servant that’s responsive and understands the needs of the people,” De Lille said.
She also praised Ntsodo, who will head the portfolio of community services, as an outstanding public servant. “He is well-qualified. He understands how council works. He understands the legislation,” she said.
Subcouncil and portfolio committee chairs earn the same as mayco members.
“It is too early to want to do bean counting. All full-time positions must first be appointed, then you can judge me,” she said.
De Lille said her mayco would lead the delivery of excellent services, achieving reconciliation through redress and pro-poor policies.
“We will grow the economy and create jobs, by making Cape Town a centre for business and innovation as Africa’s ideas hub,” said De Lille. - Additional reporting by Carlo Petersen from the Cape Times