De Lille criticised for Mandela gesture

2013-11-27 19:00
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (Picture: Sapa)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg – T’is the season to be jolly — jolly critical, that is — in the City of Cape Town.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has been criticised by political opponents for encouraging people to mark the holiday season by writing personal messages to former president Nelson Mandela.

The city is collecting the messages at a civic centre exhibition honouring 95-year-old Mandela, who is critically ill, and plans to deliver them to him in three weeks.

Cosatu said De Lille is trying to gain support by associating the DA with Madiba.

The trade union accused de Lille of engaging in "ridiculous gimmicks" and said she had neglected the needy in Cape Town.

"Instead of trying to get standing through linking herself with Mandela, she should actually try doing good for the poor for once," read a statement released by Cosatu in the Western Cape.

Solly Malatsi, De Lille’s spokesperson, pushed back, saying the criticism is "in stark contrast to the values of reconciliation and nation-building that Madiba taught us through his leadership”.

It is not the first quarrel over the legacy of Mandela.

Earlier this year, video footage showed a smiling President Jacob Zuma sitting with an unresponsive Mandela during a visit to the former leader's home that some viewers thought was a stunt to promote the ANC.

In another incident, ANC supporters said the DA was capitalising on the Mandela name when it published a pamphlet showing an old photograph of Mandela embracing Helen Suzman.

In a statement this week, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other prominent Cape Town residents warned of efforts to make the Western Cape "'ungovernable' simply because certain elements disagree with the democratic choice of the majority in that province”.

Demonstrators from poor areas of Cape Town plan to march on Friday to protest what they say are inadequate municipal services.

Violence broke out during a city march by several thousand protesters in October.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  desmond tutu  |  patricia de lille  |  nelson mandela  |  cape town  |  elections 2013  |  politics

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