Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. File Photo
Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has accused the provincial ANC of turning the fight between Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member JP Smith into a race issue.

This after the ANC in the province accused the former DA leader of being the catalyst in the spat. The ANC’s Xolani Sotashe said the fight between De Lille and Smith, whom they have described as an ally of Zille, was linked to the DA’s provincial congress this weekend.

Zille, in an SMS to Independent Media, said she had absolutely nothing to do with the friction. “The ANC wants to say this because they want to turn it into a race issue. It is not in any way a race issue, nor am I involved. This is a conflict around due process in the city.”

Sotashe said this was not a race issue but about a fight between De Lille and Zille and their respective factions to the detriment of Cape Town.

Smith and De Lille have been at loggerheads after the mayco member questioned the shutting down of Cape Town’s Special Investigating Unit and made allegations of irregularities around renovations to De Lille’s private home. Both have been placed on special leave.

On Tuesday, a special sub-committee to investigate the breakdown in the relationship between the two started hearing testimony.

On Thursday, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, who is chairing the meeting, said no decision had been taken and the sub-committee was expected to sit for the next 10 days.

“We are still talking to people and there is a further two days of testimony we need to get through.”

Steenhuisen said he could not divulge who had appeared before the committee.

University of the Witwatersrand political analyst Professor Susan Booysen said that the spat had been going on for some time but was now being discussed in public.

“The frustration of one of the parties has reached such a point that someone has decided to leak it.

“Factionalism is synonymous with political parties, but the difference here is that it is high-profile people in an important site for the DA.”

Political Bureau