'I am not afraid of any battle' – De Lille on stepping down as provincial DA leader

2017-01-30 12:38
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – "I am not afraid of any battle," Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said on Monday, a jibe directed at those who may be questioning her decision to step down as DA Western Cape leader.

In an interview with News24 on Monday morning, De Lille confirmed that she had resigned as the provincial leader as from Wednesday, after nearly two years at the helm.

Her resignation came to light after an exclusive interview was published in the Cape Argus on Monday. 

- Read more: De Lille resigns as DA Western Cape leader

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, through his spokesperson Mabina Seabe, confirmed that De Lille had resigned on Friday and that he had accepted her resignation.

De Lille said she now wanted to focus on serving the people of the City of Cape Town.

"South Africa knows me better. They know that I am sincere and that I have the passion. That my word is my honour and that integrity is something that you cannot buy in politics, and I have always made sure that I always speak the truth.

"I am determined to lead by example... and to help show other municipalities that this is what can be achieved in government."

'I do not gossip'

De Lille said she wanted to spread the success of the City of Cape Town to other municipalities and other metros around the country.

"I am not afraid of any battle. If I have differences with other leaders in the DA, they know me, I do not gossip. I will go to you, we will sit down and I ask you what is your problem, and we will discuss it.

"I am not a person that will get involved in gossip and nobody will gossip with me… Sometimes people say things out of jealousy or people don’t agree with what I stand for or what I do, I am convinced in my mind and deep down in my heart that what I am doing, is what I am asked in terms of the Constitution of this country."

De Lille thanked the people in the Western Cape for electing her to the position.

"Under my leadership we were able to win new municipalities, especially in the rural areas. We also increased a share of our voters in Cape Town to a two-thirds majority, we have also seen unprecedented growth in ANC strongholds.”

She said the responsibility of a two-thirds majority weighed heavily on her.

"When you have got this kind of support it does not give you a licence to be arrogant to power. It rather provides an opportunity to use the two-thirds majority mandate to do better and to take government to the next level.

'I think the people of Cape Town deserve it'

De Lille said the City of Cape Town has worked to redress the injustices of the past.

"We have adopted the new Organisational Developmental and Transformation Plan that will improve service delivery, bring clarity of services, bring services closer to the most vulnerable people."

She said there was still a lot that needed to be done to address the legacy of apartheid, "so that we can continue to make progress".

She said these exciting new changes would demand more of her time.

"I am absolutely determined to give this new task my utmost dedication and that is why I have decided to step down as the DA leader in the Western Cape, so that I can apply my mind fully to this. I think the people of Cape Town deserve it."

She said she also wanted to address apartheid's spatial planning in the inner city.

'We are party of government'

When asked how Maimane took the news of her resignation, she said: "At first he was not happy, but when I explained to him why I wanted to resign, and we discussed the decision, he supported my move, especially given the strategic enforcement of our government to realise the DA’s values and principles."

De Lille said the DA provincial council would on February 25 elect an interim leader that would take the party through to the conference in November 2017.

"The new leadership must own rural issues because the problems in the rural areas are different to the urban areas.

"The new leadership must be committed to winning new DA supporters in municipalities and metros. It must also make the DA a political home for everyone, as well as communicate that we are a party of government, and they must engage with activists and the people."

De Lille said the new leader must also share the lessons of government with voters.

"Communication with voters and with activists is key… My advice to whoever is going to take over is that they must make sure that they live by these values and that they implement these values so that we can continue to be the party of choice," De Lille said.

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  politics  |  local government

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