Patricia de Lille
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has been brought to a state of paralysis, making it ineffective to make swift decisions and implement projects.

This is according to mayor Patricia de Lille, who was stripped of her executive powers by the DA.

The party’s members in the city council voted in favour of stripping De Lille of her executive powers on Thursday, rendering her a “ceremonial” figurehead.

This is the first time that such a move has been taken in South Africa.

The provincial department of local government said it was too early to determine the impact of the latest twist in the ongoing De Lille saga.

“The minister and the department were not at the meeting in question and at this stage it is too early to speculate further without full knowledge of the decisions taken,” said the minister’s spokesperson, James-Brent Styan.

De Lille said the decision would have a far-reaching effect as it not only affected her but also the mayoral committee (mayco).

“As executive mayor, I had delegated some of my powers to the mayco members. So they too will also now be unable to exercise those powers and take decisions on key issues.

“By trying to spite me, they have paralysed the city,” De Lille said.

In terms of the resolution, designated authority would now be decided by the mayco but allowed the mayor to conduct “ceremonial duties” on which the mayco would need to be consulted first and consensus required before any decision could go ahead.

“Consideration of the mayoral committee shall be on the basis of consensus. If there is a lack of consensus, the matter should be referred to the speaker, Dirk Smit, for allocation of civic and ceremonial duties. In such cases, the speaker must submit a consolidated report of such decisions to the next council meeting for noting,” said the resolution.

De Lille confirmed she had called an urgent mayco meeting for tomorrow at 7am to discuss the full impact of the decision.

This decision, she said, meant that even when the mayco held a meeting, a consensus would be required, failing which the matter would have to be escalated to council.

“They thought they are hitting at me, but the mayco is also ceremonial and the city council just a lame duck,” De Lille said.

With the problems besetting the public transport system and rising service delivery protests, decisions on how to handle and meet the demands could take longer.

The matter would now be included in the legal battle between De Lille and the DA, which will come before a full bench of judges of the Western Cape High Court tomorrow and Tuesday.

Deputy mayor Ian Nielson, however, rejected her statement.

“No powers have been removed. It is simply that all the mayor’s powers have to be exercised together with the mayco,” he said.

Weekend Argus