Cape Town - The DA has been accused of “double standards” in its handling of the probe into Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, with a political analyst warning it was a matter of time before the beleaguered mayor would be forced to resign.
De Lille is facing two investigations: one by the party for - among other things - alleged maladministration and the other by the council into claims that she tried to block serious allegations against senior managers being brought before the council.
Political analysts weighed in on the saga, saying there was more to the allegations, in that they could represent a “political attack” on De Lille.
Analyst at the University of Western Cape, Professor Bheki Mngomezulu, said there was a stark difference in how the DA was handling the probe into De Lille compared to the investigation into Western Cape premier Helen Zille for tweets about colonialists, which had brought the party into disrepute.
The DA launched a probe into Zille’s conduct following the tweets but little information was made available.
“De Lille is being cornered from all angles. For some time she was the darling of the party after she secured the party’s coloured vote, but now she is dispensable,” Mngomezulu said, adding that she would not survive the “onslaught” and it was now a matter of time before she would be forced to resign.
The DA is considering her submission into why she should not resign and the party’s federal executive committee will make an announcement in due course.
Mngomezulu said it was clear from statements made by the party that it would get rid of her.
However, political analyst at the University of South Africa, Dr Somadoda Fikeni, has warned that the party should prepare itself for a “messy, long and drawn-out” process.
“The relationship between De Lille and the party has broken down irretrievably and indications are that De Lille is prepared to fight to the end as she believes that this a political attack on her.”
Both analysts said the “attack” was engineered by certain factions within the DA and had racial undertones.
“For example, Zille was brought in by the DA to address the crisis at the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMBM) when the DA had problems with its alliance partner. Now, that was a role that the national leader, Mmusi Maimane, should have played. You ask yourself on what grounds was Zille brought in. She wields an influential voice within the party, whose core leadership remains white,” Mngomezulu said.
Fikeni said there were possible factors that could have led to De Lille’s fallout with the DA, including perceptions that she was trying to reconstitute her old party, the Independent Democrats, within the DA, giving favours and positions to ex-ID members or that some members were not “comfortable” with her inclusive spatial efforts that would make Cape Town a socially integrated city.
DA Federal executive member James Selfe had previously dismissed the spatial integration claim, which De Lille said was behind the investigation.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, whose party formed an alliance with the DA in the NMBM, also drew a comparison with the way the DA was handling the City of Cape Town issue. He said the party had a tendency of instituting “kangaroo courts” instead of bringing its claims and evidence to the public domain.
“What is commendable is the fact that the DA councillors in the City of Cape Town defied their party and brought the issue to the council to be debated, whereas in the NMBM issue the DA wanted to deal with a council matter on a party level and not follow council policies.”