De Lille’s political slip-ups to blame for her woes

2018-01-21 00:00
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s move to bring Loyiso Nkohla into the DA’s fold has angered some in the party. Picture: Nasief Manie

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s move to bring Loyiso Nkohla into the DA’s fold has angered some in the party. Picture: Nasief Manie

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According to DA insiders, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has made several tactical political mistakes, and these will hasten her downfall.

Although De Lille faces eight charges of impropriety and maladministration in the running of the city, “political blunders” also precipitated calls for her to be fired.

Top among De Lille’s alleged sins was the recent promotion of former ANC councillor and rabble-rouser Loyiso Nkohla – leader of the infamous poo protest – as the head of community liaison for various mayoral committee members.

The city told Media24 earlier this month that Nkohla “met the criteria for this role”, despite a report that found his “increasingly central role” in the city worrying.

In 2016, when De Lille roped in Nkohla as an executive support officer to a mayoral committee member, DA leader Mmusi Maimane did not support the appointment and sought to have it overturned.

Many DA members were also upset that Nkohla’s job came with a salary of more than R750 000, which is way more than long-serving DA councillors earn.

“We understand that she wanted to contain the volatile group led by Nkohla, but the position he is getting cannot be justified,” City Press was told.

Nkohla and his former ally, Andile Lili, gained infamy in 2013 after they dumped faeces on the doorstep of the Western Cape provincial government and at the Cape Town International Airport in a bid to highlight the need for better sanitation in impoverished areas in the province.

Insiders told City Press that De Lille also bit off more than she could chew when she delegated the powers to oversee the Cape Town water crisis to her office.

Although her actions were legally acceptable, her apparent mismanagement of the crisis has left her vulnerable, a source said.

On Friday, the city council voted to both limit De Lille’s powers to handle the drought crisis, and introduce punitive tariff measures for residents falling outside of certain usage limits. Earlier in the day, a proposed solution to introduce a controversial water levy was also withdrawn.

However, the DA will struggle to topple the veteran politician and former Independent Democrats (ID) leader.

Her supporters are positing a narrative that the DA uses and dumps coalition partners, which will harm the DA ahead of the 2019 elections, for which a coalition of opposition parties has been touted as a possibility.

“The United Democratic Movement, the Congress of the People and the Economic Freedom Fighters are watching closely, and it does not bode well for the DA.”

Several female leaders in the party were also expected to come to De Lille’s defence.

In the Eastern Cape, there is already the perception that coloured DA activists are being targeted after a number of them were fired.

Among the ID’s chief achievements since it teamed up with the DA were its influence in provinces including the Northern Cape and North West, where former ID leaders are in charge of the DA.

A pattern of ID members being favoured for top jobs was also evident in these provinces, said a DA federal executive insider.

The DA won Cape Town with 66.61% of the vote in 2016 under De Lille’s stewardship.

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Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  patricia de lille

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