The appointment of shrewd and experienced politician and Good party leader Patricia de Lille appears to have been a pleasant surprise for South Africans and the ruling party’s political opponents.
“I will continue to lead Good and to fight for a responsible, accountable and compassionate government,” said De Lille. “On President Ramaphosa’s election to the presidency last week, I pledged Good’s constructive support for turning South Africa around.
This support we will wholeheartedly give, but I will be joining President Ramaphosa’s executive with open eyes and ears as a representative of good South Africans of integrity who love their country and demand better of their leaders.”
It also went down well with former Western Cape premier Helen Zille, but not so well with Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane, who dismissed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s appointment of De Lille as public works and infrastructure minister as “a well-executed ANC campaign”.
However, Zille took to Twitter, saying De Lille’s appointment opened real opportunities, especially for Cape Town. She lamented that she and ex-mayor De Lille for years had tried in vain to secure the release of department of public works land in “well-located areas to build affordable housing to overcome the spatial legacy of apartheid. Here is a real chance!”
The former Pan Africanist Congress politician – hailed for exposing the multibillion-rand arms deal corruption scandal – was born on February 17, 1951. De Lille served as Cape Town mayor from 2011 to 2018 and Western Cape provincial minister of social development from 2010 to 2011.
In 2003, De Lille, known as “Aunty Pat”, broke away from the PAC during a floor-crossing window and formed the Independent Democrats [ID]. She merged her fledgling party with the DA in August 2010, with ID officially dissolved four years later.
She was voted 22nd in the Top 100 Great South Africans and praised for her role in investigations into the arms deal saga. In May last year, De Lille resigned as mayor, left the DA and went on to form the Good party in December. She was elected to parliament and sworn-in as a MP last week.