'Culprits' sowing division in Cape Town DA must be named - De Lille

2018-01-30 12:21
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (Gallo Images)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille (Gallo Images)

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Cape Town – Certain unaddressed tensions within the City of Cape Town's Democratic Alliance caucus are a very real problem and those driving divisions within the party should be identified, embattled Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has said in a submission.

De Lille has detailed lingering tensions within the caucus which she says stem from an "ID/DA narrative" – this is in reference to former Independent Democrats (ID) members who went on to join the DA.

She was previously the leader of the ID before it merged with the DA.

De Lille, in her submission, has also gone a step further, naming mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services JP Smith as having "championed" a programme to sow division.

It has recently become apparent that De Lille and Smith do not see eye-to-eye.

This surfaced publicly in September last year when De Lille ordered the shutting down and changing of the mandate of the city's special investigations unit (SIU), which was headed by Smith.

READ: Mistrust, backstabbing in DA meltdown as De Lille takes on Smith

De Lille's submission, dated January 5 this year and which includes her views on divisions within the DA caucus, was made to the DA's federal executive chairperson James Selfe.

It is headed: "Reasons why Patricia de Lille should not resign from her position as executive mayor of the City of Cape Town and reasons why the Democratic Alliance ought not to move a motion of no confidence against her".

In this submission, De Lille also details problems she identified in how colleagues were dealing with the drought crisis and how a critical plan to address it seemed to stall late last year.

ALSO READ: Managers focused on furniture needs, not water - De Lille on Cape Town's 'derailed' drought plan

De Lille has been at the centre of several allegations and claims about her conduct. Many of the claims have been levelled at her by colleagues.

In December, the DA's federal executive suspended De Lille from all party activities, pending investigations into her actions. The city council may also debate a motion of no confidence against her this week.

In her submission to Selfe, De Lille said an issue "which is at the heart of the tensions" within the city's DA caucus was the "ID/DA narrative".

She referred to a report by a subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen, which was established by the DA's federal executive to look into political management in the City of Cape Town.

This report by the subcommittee contained several scathing findings against De Lille.

ALSO READ: REVEALED: The DA's scathing findings against power-drunk De Lille

De Lille, in her submission, said the report found that the issue of the ID/DA narrative had featured prominently, but was viewed as being overplayed.

'A very real problem'

But she said she viewed this as a "convenient over-simplification of a very real problem in the party".

"The truth is that the party has never properly addressed the ID/DA narrative even though it must have been aware at the outset that there would be problems resulting from the merger," De Lille said.

She had brought this issue up at a federal executive meeting in Durban in 2016 in the hopes that it would be addressed, she said.

"The finding of the subcommittee appears to have been that any reference to former ID or DA members should be suppressed through rule-making and prohibitions," De Lille said.

She said it was proposed that internal campaigning guidelines should be amended to have that type of behaviour fall under a category of negative campaigning.

De Lille did not believe this would address the ID/DA matter.

'Culprits must be identified'

"I would propose, as a first step, that the culprits driving a programme of divisiveness must be identified," she said.

"In this regard, I have already informed (the federal executive) that, in my view, Alderman JP Smith has unfortunately championed such a programme with impunity even though his conduct was and is contrary to party policy and principles."

Smith, she said, had apologised to her for "divisive campaigning".

De Lille said the subcommittee tasked with looking into tensions within the caucus had not properly considered the effect of these divisive actions, or the motives behind the desire "to besmirch my good name and character", before making findings and recommendations.

Mediation process suggested

She proposed that members of the City of Cape Town's caucus be given the opportunity to participate in a mediation process.

"I emphasised that such a process will go a long way towards improving relationships, remove hostility and misperceptions, and at the same time address the concerns about unity in the...caucus, an issue which is very close to my heart," De Lille said.

She was giving the federal executive monthly reports on reconciliation and differences within the caucus.

'Black caucus' shows need for reconciliation

The subcommittee's report into tensions in the city's leadership had identified the existence of a so-called "black caucus".

"It does appear from several interactions that there have indeed been meetings at various locations of black members of the caucus," this report said.

De Lille, in her submission, said the subcommittee had found these meetings were "sowing resentment and suspicion".

But she said: "No effort was made to find out why a black caucus (informally) exists."

"In my view, the existence of such a caucus illustrates the need for mediation... There is clearly a need for mediation and proper reconciliation so that cohesion and trust can be created among councillors in the caucus, whether they are black or white."

De Lille said her suggestions appeared to have been rejected and the subcommittee had "taken aim" at her, city speaker Dirk Smit and chief whip Shaun August, instead of resolving tensions in the caucus.

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Read more on:    da  |  city of cape town  |  jp smith  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  local government

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