CAPE TOWN - Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille says she remains committed to serving South Africa as she resigns from her position as mayor.
De Lille has resigned with effect from the end of October, and the DA has withdrawn all charges against her, the party announced on Sunday.
"I am pleased to announce today [Sunday] that the DA and Patricia de Lille have reached a mutual agreement which resolves the question of the leadership of the DA government in Cape Town," Maimane said in a statement.
"This has been a long and difficult journey. This matter has already gone on for too long and has sapped the energies and attentions of both parties from our core work, for which we apologise.
"We were both desirous of finding a mutually agreeable resolution and we have now done so. I am confident that this outcome is in the best interests of the people of Cape Town," he said
De Lille had agreed to resign the office of mayor effective October 31. This was an opportunity for the city's DA caucus to take stock, to regroup, and unite. The process to elect a new mayor would begin immediately, with more details available in due course.
The DA had taken a decision to withdraw all internal disciplinary charges against De Lille, but any other investigations by the city were not covered by the agreement.
"As a party that prides itself on clean government, we were obliged to consider all allegations levelled against Ms De Lille. It is never easy to take action against one of your own. But I am confident that throughout this painful period we have acted in the best interests of the citizens we serve," Maimane said.
The agreement was an opportunity to close a difficult chapter in the DA's history and to open a new one. "We will continue to put the people first in all we do."
The DA acknowledged that the mayor had led the DA’s government in the city since 2011, and had for the most part done so with distinction. The team she had led had achieved four clean audits and had helped the city to its pre-eminent position as the leading metro in South Africa. She had been a colleague, friend, and loyal member of the DA for nearly a decade.
"We are pleased that this agreement opens the way for her to remain as a member of the DA," Maimane said.
In a separate statement, De Lille said she was pleased to have reached an agreement with the DA.
"I have always maintained that I am innocent and the allegations against me have never been proven. This is why I insisted on opening up the disciplinary hearing to the media.
Now that the charges against her had been withdrawn, she could get on with her life and invest the additional time on focusing on the real reason why she accepted the position of mayor in the first place, which was to build a better city and country for all South Africans, De Lille said.
"I remain committed to investing whatever little time that I have to complete this project and contribute towards the transformation of the city. Our country is facing some massive challenges. The cost of living is on the increase daily, more and more South Africans are walking our streets without a decent job, and the massive inequalities left by apartheid are still existent in our society today."
What the country needed now more than ever was for its leaders to put their differences aside and work even harder to address these historical imbalances in society.
"While I have been fighting for my rights to prove my innocence and although I was ready to proceed with the disciplinary hearing, I also realise that this fight between myself and the DA cannot continue forever. Now that the DA have withdrawn the charges against me and I have cleared my name I have decided to step aside.
"I want to use this opportunity to express my deep and sincere gratitude to the thousands of people in Cape Town and the rest of the country who have supported me through this very difficult period. At times I drew most of my strength from them and for this I am eternally grateful. I remain committed to serving the people of our country. I also want to thank the DA for the opportunity to serve as the mayor of Cape Town," De Lille said.
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African News Agency (ANA)