News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
4 minute read
12 Jan 2018
6:57 am

De Lille at the centre of DA race row

Yadhana Jadoo

She is ‘aware of plans to replace her with provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela’.

Interview with Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille on Tuesday, 7 July 2015. Picture: NARDUS ENGELBRECHT

Fresh racial tensions in the DA have been seemingly fuelled by the suspension of Patricia de Lille as Cape Town mayor.

De Lille released a statement on her suspension following allegations of corruption and maladministration in the city, indicating she was aware of plans to replace her with DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.

The suspension has even led to the ANC’s South Coast regional spokesperson, Sammy Claassen, asking coloured people to support De Lille.

“Coloured people of the Cape should not abandon De Lille but should unite in solidarity with her across the country‚” he reportedly said on Facebook.

ANC provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said it was clear the DA has “never been a party for all the people, especially black and coloured people”.

“There are a litany of examples where they use and abuse and spit out people of colour once they reach their sell-by date,” said Jacobs.

“They are racist and their racist divisions are being exposed. They are imploding because of their racist groupings. See the real DA through this example.”

But Madikizela charged that Claassen belonged to a “cohort of coloured nationalists” and, should anyone in the DA adopt the same view, they should leave.

“Claassen belongs to a cohort of nationalists. We have some people here who belong to certain factions in the ANC who see this as an opportunity to come together,” he said.

“These are coloured nationalists and if there are people like that in the DA, they certainly do not belong here. These are the people who also want to break away from the ANC. And maybe they deserve each other because if you listen to the language that they are using, it is a racist language. “They are welcome to get together and have their tea party …”

The DA was built on “sound principles and values”, Madikizela said.

“One of those principles is nonracialism. We cannot have people who want to take us back. If they believe that’s the route to take, clearly they don’t belong in the DA,” he reiterated.

Madikizela did not know where De Lille received information on him being punted for mayor. “I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t know where she gets that from. All I know is that the federal executive committee is going to discuss this matter on Sunday and the decision will be taken.

“I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of that meeting because I don’t know what the outcome would be.

“For anyone to pre-empt the outcome of that meeting – and even know what can happen after the outcome – is really puzzling for me.”

Madikizela denied knowing anything about power struggles in the party. “We are focusing on our projects for 2019 and to make sure that we take our voters into our confidence.

Second, we must make sure that we stabilise our government so that people can again vote for us.

If we have a situation like this in the City of Cape Town, it really jeopardises our chances for people to give us an opportunity to govern again.” He called it “unfortunate” that the matter played out in the media.

“As a politician, I have learnt that once people start to play out things in the media and try to get public sympathy, usually people know something some of us don’t.”

De Lille tweeted this week that the DA’s stance had illustrated her previous statements that these attacks were about power and positions all along.

“It is only fair that this proof is provided to understand whether the DA members and branches were consulted. They can do this by providing a list of the meetings which took place when branches took decisions,” she said.

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said De Lille’s suspension was “bound to have racial inclinations”.

“Most of the coloured constituency and other observers are mindful of their demographic superiority in the Western Cape.

They expect a solid representation in many of the structures, for they always complain around the country they are not given any prominence.

The Western Cape almost becomes their last resort,” he said. “In South Africa, identity is still a strong factor.

Even if you don’t endorse or abuse it, the sensitivity towards it is well advised in the political space.

“What they may do is compare how Helen Zille was treated in a racial tweets and how Dianne Kohler Barnard was treated when there was an implied racial incident in her tweets. They were treated with great caution and, in the end, they retained their jobs.”

But with De Lille, it seemed the DA were “going straight for her job”. The charges against her were rather “indirect”, Fikeni said.

De Lille will also see this as an existential crisis on her political career due to her prominence as a corruption buster.


DA suspends De Lille until allegations are answered

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