De Lille attendance at Winnie memorial is between her and EFF leadership - DA

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille at the EFF event held in Brandfort, Free State. (Amanda Khoza, News24)
Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille at the EFF event held in Brandfort, Free State. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

A "courtesy call" by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, to alert the DA she would be attending an EFF memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, would have been welcomed, the party's spokesperson said on Thursday.

"Ms De Lille's attendance at the memorial is a matter between her and the EFF leadership and not the DA," Refiloe Nt'sekhe said in a statement.

"As the DA, we received an official invitation from the EFF leadership and the party sent the DA's Free State provincial leader, Patricia Kopane, to commemorate Mama Winnie's life and to pass on our condolences."

De Lille, however, said she didn't want her attendance to become a side issue to the fact that she was paying tribute to Madikizela-Mandela, her spokesperson Xolani Koyana told News24.

READ: 'I'm here as a friend of Mama Winnie' – De Lille at EFF memorial

"She has respect for Mama Winnie; she was a close friend of the mayor who regarded her as a sister. The mayor is a former special colleague of Mama Winnie. She went to pay her respects and honour Mama Winnie in that capacity," he said.

Nt'sekhe said the party was often invited by other political parties to address events or rallies.

"This is not in any way unusual. However, we do ask that the individual concerned informs the party leadership," she said.

"The DA has, along with the nation, been mourning the death of Mrs Madikizela-Mandela and refuses to be drawn into mud-slinging in her name. It is simply inappropriate. The DA leader will be paying his last respects at the official funeral this coming weekend as he had done last week during his visit to the family home."

Late on Thursday, De Lille expressed her disappointment in a tweet over the issue.

De Lille is currently involved in a disciplinary process with the DA's federal legal commission and is accused of contravening the DA's federal constitution amid claims of misconduct.

The process was postponed indefinitely last month after one of the chairpersons recused himself.

During her address on Wednesday at the Majwemasweu Stadium in Deeplevel, Brandfort, De Lille said one of the things Madikizela-Mandela taught her was that politics was not for sissies.

She said she would always remember the stalwart's principles.

"The truth never changed. That is how we knew her. She was fearless. She only feared God."

To those who criticised Madikizela-Mandela, De Lille said: "They were the same critics who did not say anything against the struggle of apartheid. Who are they to criticise our mother?"

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