De Lille joins Zille

2010-09-03 15:45

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille will join the Western Cape government as social development minister, provincial premier Helen Zille said.

She told journalists at a press conference in the provincial legislature that De Lille would replace Ivan Meyer, who would become cultural affairs and sport Member of the Executive Council (MEC).

Current cultural affairs and sport MEC Sakkie Jenner will be made a committee chairperson in the provincial legislature once the review of the structure is complete.

Zille said current community safety MEC Lennit Max would move to the National Assembly to become a Member of Parliament (MP). He will be replaced as MEC by MP Albert Fritz.

“Lennit Max has agreed to swap with Albert Fritz in the National Assembly and Fritz has agreed to swap with Lennit Max.”

Zille said the decision was awaiting approval from the Democratic Alliance’s federal executive.

She said Fritz was perfectly suited to the job and had been impressed by his “oversight role on the function of police”.

“I gave Max some options and he chose the option of going to Parliament.”

Zille refused to give reasons for swapping Max, saying it was her “right to exercise her judgment”.

“I’m grateful Max responded in the way he did,” she said.

De Lille, who was seated next to Zille at the press conference, said it was an honour for her to take up the role.

“Social development is my passion. For 24 years I’ve been fighting for the poor and the downtrodden. You won’t find me in an office. I will be out there dealing with the problems on the ground.”

De Lille joked MPs would be glad to see the back of her following revelations about their travel expenses.

She revealed yesterday that several MPs had been running up exorbitant travel accounts.

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