There has been much discussion in the Cape Town media about what happens now that Patricia de Lille has been effectively reinstated as Mayor by the Western Cape High Court. One Sunday newspaper reported that the Western Cape’s ruling party was considering an about-turn – providing her with an olive branch. But this does not seem to be the case.
The man who has led the opposition within the DA caucus to Mayor de Lille’s continued rule, Mayoral Committee Member for Security JP Smith, said he had received a number of requests from Democratic Alliance councillors in the ruling party's 154-member Cape Town City Council caucus calling for another vote of no confidence.
Smith confirmed today – Tuesday the 3rd of July – that a motion would be put to the DA caucus to this effect on Friday the 6th of July 2018. It was envisaged that there would be a motion for a no confidence vote tabled – on the 26th of July – at a full city council meeting.
Smith was emphatic that a three-line whip - in which DA councillors would be obligated to vote along party lines - would not be used to oppose the mayor. In February, the mayor defeated a DA motion of no confidence – by just one vote (see story below). At that point she received the support of most opposition parties, including the official council opposition, the African National Congress.
The mechanics of such a vote is likely to be discussed in the DA caucus on Friday. Smith would not say which councillors had proposed the motion. He said that would open the door to them being victimised.
De Lille herself did not respond to questions about a possible second (full city council) vote of no confidence, but Smith said that three DA caucus internal votes of no confidence had been held, during which time the opposition to De Lille had increased in the caucus from 59 percent to 75 percent.
Asked if he was confident that his caucus would vote De Lille out this time, Smith said one could "never" be entirely confident. "But we don't do things for expediency sake."
He believed there had been a shift against the Mayor among DA dissenting councillors. "There has been a significant change of heart from that day (the first no confidence vote on 15 February)."
Smith said it was nonsense that the party was considering restoring the mayor's executive powers. He said that only eight of the 154 DA councillors had voted for the restoring of the powers. The powers of delegation of the mayor had to be tweaked, but that would not alter decisions taken by the mayoral committee recently.
It is understood that reports that DA leader Mmusi Maimane wished to extend the olive branch to De Lille were incorrect. He told a church meeting in eThekwini at the weekend that corrupt people in all parties - including his own - should be identified and removed. He did not mention De Lille by name, however.
In the previous full council vote of no confidence vote in De Lille on 15 February this year, 39 DA councillors supported De Lille - in other words they voted against the vote of no confidence. Altogether 107 DA councillors of the 154 member caucus opposed her, thus voting for the no confidence motion. The latter were joined by two members of the opposition.
However the motion was defeated by 110 votes (against 109). This included 58 ANC councillors. A further 13 opposition councillors supported her, while the African Christian Democratic Party abstained. Two opposition councillors, one from the Freedom Front Plus and the other from the CMC voted against her.
Significantly the opposition to the De Lille within her own DA caucus rose from 84 councillors who voted against her in an internal caucus meeting a few days earlier to 107 who voted against her in full council.
If the vote of no confidence is successful from the DA’s point of view, the entire mayoral committee will lose their posts. Only the Deputy Mayor, who was elected like the mayor by the full council, remains in office. He must constitute a new mayoral committee soon after the vote.