The Democratic Alliance City of Cape Town 154-member caucus has voted the Mayor, Patricia de Lille, out of office. The internal caucus meeting strongly expressed no confidence in her, with 70% support for the motion to remove her.
This does not mean that she will immediately vacate the office. Mayoral Committee Member JP Smith told The Messenger that she was able to appeal the decision. "She carries-on being mayor until the conclusion of the decision-making process by the federal executive which includes her right of reply," he said.
The federal executive, after consideration, has the option of removing her as a member of the DA in terms of a recent clause passed by the party's federal congress. That allows for a recall of executive office bearers.
De Lille said before the vote that she would appeal the decision. She said she would sue "the hell out" of those who were trying to birsmirch her name.
Asked for the result of the vote, Smith, who is deputy caucus leader, initially said: "Caucus requested that voting results not be shared." It emerged later that 97 had voted for the motion of no confidence - against De LIlle - while 41 voted for her. There was one spoilt paper. Fifteen DA councillors were absent of the 154-member caucus.
De Lille defeated a full council vote of no confidence in February - by one vote, with most of her support coming from opposition parties including the African National Congress. Significantly De Lille has improved her position slightly in the caucus. She received 39 DA councillors' votes on that occasion. In that February vote 107 DA councillors - with two opposition councillors - voted against the mayor.
In a statement on Wednesday night De Lille said:
“Tonight the majority of the DA councillors in the City of Cape Town voted in favour of a motion of no confidence in me.
“This motion was brought on various grounds, all of which I disputed and I asked the councillors today for evidence of so-called breaches they listed as reasons for the motion. I asked councillors whether they discussed the motion of no confidence and whether they had a mandate from their branches.
“Councillors are not in council as individuals; they represent constituencies and I asked whether the councillors received a mandate from the people they represent.
“Over the past eight months, I have received thousands of messages of support from residents across Cape Town, so it is clear that this motion was driven by individuals' feelings and not the public's will.
“Be that as it may, I will make representations to the DA federal executive as I understand this to be the next step in the process.”
“Tonight the DA caucus in Cape Town considered a motion of no confidence in the Mayor, Alderman Patricia de Lille, brought by Councillor Angus McKenzie. The debate was extremely orderly and respectful.
“A vote by secret ballot took place upon the conclusion of the debate. The caucus supported the motion.
“The outcome of the decision by the caucus to request the removal of the Mayor as the leader of the DA caucus and therefore the Mayor, is now being communicated to the federal executive (of the DA).
“138 had cast their votes. A small number had chosen to abstain and one councillor had spoilt a vote. He would not say, when pressed again, how many had voted for or against De Lille.”
However, these numbers were provided in a later DA statement from Natasha Mazzone, the Deputy Chair of the Federal Council.
“This evening 97 councillors voted for the motion, 41 voted against, 15 abstained/were absent and there was one spoilt ballot. It is clear that an overwhelming 70% of the councillors in the caucus have expressed that they have lost confidence in Ms De Lille’s leadership,” she said.
“The Federal Executive will now provide Ms de Lille with the opportunity to make submissions as to why she should not step down.
“The FedEx will then deliberate on the submission and come to a decision on how to proceed which could include the fact that Ms de Lille will be asked to resign, in line with the Accountability clause.
“Despite numerous claims to the contrary, the Accountability Clause which was formally adopted the DA’s Federal Congress, is not about de Lille.
“In fact, the clause has already enabled the DA to hold an executive member in the Matzikama municipality to account. This case was the first time the clause was used. We have also received a request from Stellenbosch municipality invoking the same clause.
“Ultimately, the people we serve must come first. Any DA member who does not adhere to the highest possible standards of clean and efficient governance will be removed.
“Claims that this clause will be used to unfairly remove executive members are untruths peddled to detract the public eye from serious leadership flaws and faults.
“We will ensure that the interests of the people of Cape Town are our top priority and that the City of Cape Town leadership gets back to the business of dealing with the unprecedented drought crisis and delivering services to the people of this city. We will not hesitate to act to ensure that this happens.”