DA’s De Lille Dilemma Is Self-inflicted

The DA’s dilemma with its Cape Town mayor, Patricia De Lille, is entirely self-inflicted. In that the DA prescribes rigorous probity tests for its public representatives, De Lille should never have been accepted as a DA public rep.

In Biznews on February 2, veteran journalist Ed Herbst provided a comprehensive account of De Lille’s political history, which, as the following excerpts indicate, should have disqualified her from membership of a party which its leader, Mmusi Maimane, claims, prioritises “values” as one of its core criteria.

  • In Die Suid-Afrikaan on 31 December 1993, De Lille rejected the Freedom Charter view that the land belongs to all who live in it, black and white. According to De Lille, black people had exclusive rights to all the land.
  • In media statements published on 16 February 1994, she encouraged whites to emigrate so as to make room for the black majority. In support of that statement and on several subsequent occasions, she voiced the slogan “one settler, one bullet” which she later moderated to “one settler, one air ticket.”
  • In response to the murder of American student Amy Biehl by youth members of the PAC, to which she belonged, De Lille stated on 19 April 1994: “The youth of the townships have been deprived of democracy for 340 years. What other means do you expect them to use if they were denied human rights?”
  • In a report carried out by SAPA on 31 July 1995, she advocated land invasions by force.
  • In 1998 she actually bussed inland invaders from Tafelsig in Cape Town to occupy a tract of land near Ryland’s estate (Cape Times,13 August 1998).

She was referred to by the Citizen newspaper and by the Sunday Times as Patricia De Liar following her eleventh-hour volte-face in endorsing the ANC’s candidate for mayor in 2006 after assuring her ID party that she would support the DA’s candidate. Despite her record of political values, she became the DA’s mayor of Cape Town in May 2011.

The fact that the DA’s investigation into De Lille’s tenure as mayor has found, inter alia, dereliction of duty, unexplained loss of revenue, intimidation and mismanagement is regrettable in terms of the DA’s claim to promote good governance. But the lesson for the DA in this sad saga is that values and principles are compromised when political expediency and opportunism are prioritised.

Sent into The Daily News and The mercury and published, 8 February 2018.

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