Let us make sure that the Western Cape is not for sale to the highest bidder, as it is now.”
These were the words of Patricia de Lille as she concluded her speech, while the opening chords of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” sounded out through the muggy hall of Hoofweg Primary School in Wesbank, a grim, impoverished neighbourhood in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs.
De Lille was launching her campaign on Saturday to become the premier of the Western Cape under the banner of Good – the party she founded after leaving the DA and giving up the mayoral chain of Cape Town in October last year.
In her public appearances since Good’s inception in December last year, she hasn’t said much about the strife that led to her departure from the DA. This changed on Saturday, as De Lille took aim at the party not only governing the City of Cape Town, but also the Western Cape.
After speaking about Good in general, De Lille explained, again, why she left the DA.
She said she was the face of the DA’s election campaign in the municipal election of 2016, and on the back of “our record of delivery” in to the previous term, the DA won the metro with a two-thirds majority.
“I vowed to focus on addressing the apartheid spatial plan of our city which persists and which pushes poor, mostly black and coloured families, to continued exclusion,” she said.
“It was at this point that a cabal within the DA, clearly opposed to fixing the apartheid spatial plan, turned against me.”
“For two years I endured a vile and relentless dirty-tricks campaign to get rid of me as mayor of Cape Town and to damage my reputation.”
“I have spent my entire life fighting for a society that is just, fair and caring and will not rest until this is achieved.”
According to De Lille, the DA borrowed from apartheid-era tactics in their dirty tricks campaign – sham investigations with predetermined outcomes, false criminal charges and forged documents.
“I was there when the Constitution was written,” she said. “So I know my rights.”
She said she always believed that even if the executive branch of state is flawed, there is hope so long as the judiciary remains upright. So, she turned to the courts.
“My faith in the courts was not misplaced. The Western Cape High Court ruled in my favour three out of three times.”
She said in the coming weeks summonses will be served on more DA members.
“I’m not done with them yet!”
De Lille said while she was fighting for the poor, others in the DA – she dubbed them the “laptop boys” were fighting for the privileged.
“I’m a proud victim of this battle. My exit was inevitable.”
“I left the bad for the Good!” she said to rousing applause.
She said the Western Cape’s reputation for being racist is due to the DA and she knows the good people of the province aren’t racist.
“We must make sure we build one Western Cape for all the people of the Western Cape,” she said. The DA’s campaign slogan is “One South Africa for all”.
While speaking about corruption – Good is against it – someone in the audience blurted out: “Bosasa!”
De Lille, with a smile, said: “They give the poor people Sassa cards, and they take Bosasa cards for themselves!”
Much laughter ensued.
She stated the skeleton of Good’s policy positions, which is based on spatial justice, economic justice, social justice and environmental justice.
“We all know that climate change is a reality,” she said.
She also said public land must be released for public housing. A day before, Western Cape premier Helen Zille challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to release state owned land in the province to make it available for public housing in her final State of the Province Address.
De Lille said people living in informal settlements should get serviced plots and title deeds.
She said in the Western Cape people with deep pockets rule the political roost, as they keep parties in power. She said a vote for Good will change that.
The event started around 10:00 with, as these things often do, people lining up to receive their obligatory t-shirt in party colours, in this case, orange.
They then went into the school’s hall, which eventually held an audience of about 500 people, where two MC’s were yelling encouragement over the sound system. Some songs were sung.
“On your marks, get set, we are ready for 2019!” they sang, on a tune that was often heard during the latter part of 2017. Then the song’s then lyrics was either “We are ready for Nkosazana!” or “We are ready for Ramaphosa.
Later on Saturday morning the lyric was changed to: “We are ready for Patri-sheee-aaaah!”
Four young people were called in turn to the stage to say why they support Good and sing De Lille’s praises.
From the back of the hall De Lille, wearing an orange golf shirt, walked to the stage, followed by children in their black school tracksuits marching in formation to the beat of a bass and a snare drum, played by two of their classmates.
There was a musical item, by a singer who introduced herself as Salome from Mitchells Plain.
Good national chairperson Nthabiseng Lephoko introduced De Lille. After the speech, Salome led the rendition of “Simply the Best”, with De Lille and others swaying on stage.
As the audience started to depart, they were reminded to pick up their food vouchers.
– From News24