While South Africans play the will-or-won’t-she guessing game over Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s decision to step down from her role on Wednesday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane insists it’s a done deal.
Maimane delivered a keynote address at the memorial service of Jerry Mabe, a DA councillor in the City of Johannesburg in Braamfischerville, Soweto, on Tuesday evening.
He used the opportunity to speak about the five councillors who resigned on the spot during a council sitting last week, accusing the DA of racism and victimising De Lille’s supporters in the Cape Town caucus.
“I have a resignation letter and that is the basis upon which I work from, and I would want us to honour the agreements that we make because that’s what makes us who we are – honourable people,” Maimane told those gathered at the memorial service.
A deal had previously been struck between the embattled Cape Town mayor and the party for De Lille to step down at the end of October, however, she has recently been non-committal when asked if she would indeed resign.
Cape Town city council speaker Dirk Smit has laid criminal charges against De Lille and mayoral committee member Brett Herron.
Discussing report with De Lille was ‘hard’
This after the council’s adoption of two reports by law firm Bowmans into maladministration at the metro last week.
De Lille has since said she wanted a review of the reports, one of which recommended that she be criminally investigated for maladministration.
Maimane told guests at the memorial service, some clad in EFF T-shirts, that it was difficult discussing the report with De Lille.
“When I met with her and we spoke at length about what was happening, it was hard,” said Maimane.
It was especially difficult, he said, because the allegations of a cover-up of serious corruption were being made against “someone I worked with for so long”.
“It’s hard, [one] can’t sit back and say: ‘I know you, I respect you, I know your past and I am not going to do anything,'” continued the DA leader.
Maimane insisted that the issue had been dealt with, telling journalists on the side-lines of the service that if De Lille doesn’t resign, the onus will be on her to explain why, when there is an agreement that she would do so.
“Her retraction is something that she would need to explain, she certainly hasn’t communicated anything to us,” said Maimane.
When asked about some of the claims she has made against the party and her tweets on the saga, Maimane said the “side tracks were simply to distract away from serious allegations” in the report.
“There is a serious allegation against Mme Patricia and we must process that,” said Maimane.
Councillors ‘talking rubbish’
Earlier during his speech, he questioned the actions of the five councillors – Thulani Stemele, Suzette Little, Greg Bernado, Siyabonga Mamkeli and DA caucus chief whip Shaun August – who quit claiming the DA was side-lining them and reserving decision-making powers for whites.
“DA is what-what, DA is this… then they proceed to say the DA is racist, I take it absolutely personally. Ba bua matlakala [They are talking rubbish]. You can’t belong to an organisation that belongs to all South Africans then suddenly start to argue that point,” said Maimane.
He accused the five of going to council for the salaries and not to serve the people of the City of Cape Town.
“These are individuals who today want to cry wolf. You are undermining the struggle against racism by [crying] racism when there is none simply because we are holding you to account,” said Maimane.
The DA leader insisted the former DA councillors only complained when a colleague of theirs was implicated by the Bowmans report.
“When suddenly you challenge those people and say: ‘In the DA you serve the people, work for the people; if you don’t, we will kick you out,’ they suddenly say its racism,” said Maimane.