The Independent Democrats (ID) was founded by former PAC member Patricia de Lille in 2003 and was the first political party in South Africa to be led by a woman, contest elections and win seats. Over 26% of its support comes from black South Africans, 40% comes from coloured and Indian people, and 29% from white South Africans. Source:
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M28 Marks Building, Parliament, Cape Town, 8001
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1994 Election: N/A
1999 Election: N/A
2004 Election: 1.7% 269 765 votes
2009 Election: 0.92% 162 915 votes
Patricia de Lille
Patricia de Lille, the president of the Independent Democrats, has been active in politics for a quarter of a century. She is known for her role as a trade unionist in the struggle and as the initial whistle-blower on the infamous arms-deal corruption.
In 1988 she was elected vice-president of the National Council of Trade Unions. She became an MP in 1994 after leading the PAC delegation in the constitutional negotiations in Kempton Park and went on to chair the parliamentary committee on transport until 1999. On March 26 2003 she formed the Independent Democrats, which won national and provincial seats in the 2004 elections, becoming the first woman since freedom to do so.
De Lille has been the recipient of numerous awards including being voted Woman of the Year by Rapport/City Press and one of the Top 5 Women in Government and Government Agencies, and has been recognised as a leading HIV/Aids activist by an international organisation. She is a former chancellor of the Durban Institute of Technology, an honorary colonel in the SANDF and serves on the boards of the African Monitor, the Helen Suzman Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
She has been described by Nelson Mandela as "a strong, principled woman" and his "favourite opposition politician".
The ID merged with the DA in 2010 and De Lille became the mayor of the DA-run Cape Town in May 2011.