Mayor Patricia de Lille is expected to submit an explanation to the DA on Sunday regarding her attendance at a memorial service for ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela organised by the EFF this week.

Speaking to the Weekend Argus on Saturday on her way back to Cape Town from attending the funeral in Joburg, De Lille said she would not make her attendance of the memorial service a “side issue” but would respond on Sunday.

The fallout between De Lille and the DA deepened this week after she attended the memorial service in Brandfort, Free State, in her “personal capacity”.

The DA denied reports that it wanted to charge De Lille for attending the event.

DA spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe said De Lille’s attendance was a matter between her and the EFF.

At its federal congress that ended on April 8, the DA made a constitutional amendment to allow for the recall of its members elected to executive positions who had lost the confidence of their caucuses.

De Lille said the move was aimed solely at her.

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The amendment allows for the member to make representations on why they should not resign and, should the DA not accept the reasons given, that member would have to resign within 48 hours, failing which their membership would cease.

Although speculation had been rife following the adoption of the clause that moves were imminent to get rid of De Lille as mayor, DA federal council chairperson James Selfe said if the City of Cape Town caucus wanted to move a motion of no confidence in her again, it would have to apply to the federal council and no such application had been received.

A motion of no confidence against De Lille was previously defeated by one vote in a secret ballot.

Political analyst Bheki Mngomezulu said the DA’s federal council might invoke the clause the same way the ANC recalled former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.

Mngomezulu said even though the former presidents had been elected through a parliamentary process, the party still recalled them.

“The DA might do the same thing and invoke their constitution,” he said.

However, he said this might not happen soon as “all eyes” were on the party to see how it would proceed with the clause, following its denial that it was aimed at De Lille.

De Lille is embroiled in a disciplinary process with the DA’s federal legal commission, which was postponed last month after one of the chairpersons recused himself.

Selfe said the new replacement was now studying the documents of the hearing and as soon as he had done so, the hearing would continue.

Mngomezulu said De Lille’s attendance at the EFF-organised memorial service hinted at a possibility of behind-the-scenes talks between the parties.

“If she were to continue in politics after the DA, the EFF would likely be her home and, because of her political credibility, the party might want her to join it,” he said.

Mngomezulu said the other option would be for her to quit active politics but he did not see this happening.

Weekend Argus