Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille had to “inform her superiors in the DA” before attending Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral on Saturday, after her appearance at an EFF memorial for the matriarch in Brandfort landed her in hot water last week.
De Lille said she was surprised the party took issue with her attendance at the EFF event and that she first heard of it on the news.
In e-mail correspondence seen by The Citizen, she then contacted DA federal executive chair James Selfe, asking for clarity on the issue.
“It has come to my attention through various media reports that you would like an explanation from me as to why I did not inform the party of my attendance at the EFF memorial in honour of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
“I also note that there has been no official correspondence sent to me on this matter. In addition, I find it wholly inappropriate that this is being made a side issue while the country is in mourning,” De Lille wrote.
“It is City of Cape Town’s protocol for me to inform the deputy mayor and mayoral committee when I leave the municipal boundaries, which I complied with. I have never had to notify the party if I leave the boundaries of the city. If this is the case, send me the policy regarding this protocol.
“This morning at 5.45am you were on SAfm saying that [leader of the DA in the Free State] Patricia Kopane, who was in attendance, did not deliver an address at the memorial. This was incorrect because she was one of the first speakers on the programme. Several other DA members were also present in DA regalia.
“This was a memorial service which I attended in my personal capacity at the request of the family of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who gave the EFF permission to host the event.
“Despite my strong feelings regarding the above, I hereby give notice that I will be attending the funeral on Saturday, April 14, 2018. I trust this matter is now considered resolved.”
De Lille said “Selfe started this thing” of her not informing the party. It was then picked up by Refiloe Nt’sekhe, the party’s national spokesperson, who issued a statement, she added.
“I wrote them an e-mail saying ‘I hear you are speaking to the media making all these statements on the radio, but you haven’t actually written to me officially asking me why I attended the memorial’.”
Nt’sheke said yesterday the debacle caused embarrassment for the party because they had initially denied to the media that De Lille was at the event as they had not known at the time that she was. She said De Lille should have informed them as a matter of “common courtesy”.
It was not, however, a disciplinable offence, Nt’sheke qualified.
The party issued a statement last week saying De Lille should have made a courtesy call informing them of her attendance even though she was there in her personal capacity. The mayor contended she did comply with protocol by informing them that she would be out of town on the day.
In his reply, Selfe stated that she did have to notify the party.
“There is, and has been for a long time, a protocol which governs the attendance by senior party office-bearers at rallies and marches organised by other political parties and that is that he or she informs the party leadership.
“This is because when a senior office-bearer makes such an appearance, it gives rise to queries from the media and members of the party.”
He added he had been inundated with media questions in this regard, ending off by thanking De Lille for informing him of her attendance at the funeral.