Maimane: De Lille matter shows DA is different to ANC
Cape Town – Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said the public scandal around Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille showed just how different the DA was compared to the ANC.
In his latest Bokamoso address, Maimane said the DA believed that all its members were equally accountable to the party and to the law.
“Far from protecting the implicated, we have demonstrated that no one in the DA is ‘untouchable’,” he said.
“We are throwing open the doors and windows to shine light on the situation in the City, because we want to act speedily and forcefully to stop dangerous trends before they gather a momentum of their own.”
“We genuinely believe that ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant’, not just as a slogan, but as a value,” he said.
De Lille matter to be resolved as swiftly as possible
Maimane said the well-being of Cape Town residents mattered a great deal to the DA, especially in the light of the current drought crisis, and they were dealing with concerns surrounding De Lille’s leadership “as swiftly and fairly as possible”.
Maimane said the DA leadership had first become aware of problems in the City’s DA caucus in August 2017, when serious allegations of poor leadership, maladministration and governance failures were levelled against De Lille and other senior councillors.
“We responded by initiating an internal investigation into political tensions, headed by John Steenhuisen; and by ensuring that the City instituted an independent, external investigation by legal firm Bowman Gilfillan,” he said.
Maimane said the first internal investigation concluded that while De Lille was extremely hard-working, a great many DA councillors, City staff and colleagues had found her leadership style to be obstructive to the successful functioning of both the City administration and the DA caucus, undermining service delivery in Cape Town.
“A number of specific, serious allegations were made against her, and the Mayor was given extended time to reply to these in full,” he said.
Maimane said the Bowman Gilfillan report concluded that De Lille behaved and acted in a manner that constituted gross misconduct and dereliction of duty, including her apparent role in actively covering up serious governance failures.
“We want to achieve the outcome that is best for the people of Cape Town and we remain committed to a clean, accountable government,” he said.
Last week, The DA’s Federal Executive decided to formally charge De Lille, which Maimane said would draw out the process of achieving resolution.
"But as a DA public representative who has made a huge positive contribution to the DA and SA, we must give Mayor De Lille further opportunity to fully respond to all allegations levelled against her," he said.
De Lille “much loved’, but not untouchable
“I do not doubt Ms De Lille’s commitment to the greater good. She has played a central, positive role in both SA and the DA,” he said,
“She is much loved within and beyond the DA. She deserves, and will forever have, our respect and gratitude. But central as she has been to the DA and SA’s fortunes, no one is above the party and its constitution, and no individual’s interests are above those of the general public,” said Maimane.
Maimane said it had been painful to learn of the dysfunction and resentment that had built up against De Lille in the Cape Town City council.
“This is the very worst possible time for a problem such as this to arise, in the midst of a major drought crisis and ahead of the 2019 national election. But for the sake of Capetonians and South Africans, the DA is fully prepared to take the necessary action to restore order and functionality to Cape Town council’s DA caucus,” he said.
Maimane said some felt the DA should not be involved in a dispute over De Lille while there was a drought crisis.
“But the DA cannot ignore serious allegations for this reason. The drought could drag on for years. The people of Cape Town need a council that runs efficiently and effectively, even more so because of this crisis,” he said.
Values only count if tested
Maimane said the political party’s values only really counted when they were put to the test.
“Values are easy when everyone agrees and when they are easily applied.”
“But they are hard when the party faces a painful test. Despite the difficulty, the DA will remain true to its values, come what may,” he said.
Maimane said this is what made the DA different to the African National Congress, which consistently acted to ignore the corruption that was putrefying it from the inside, protecting the guilty and sweeping evidence and information under the carpet.
“This has resulted in a party that is literally split down the middle, and a state that is captured by private rent seekers,” he said.
Maimane said the public looked to the DA as a model of clean, accountable government that will act firmly against corruption, uphold equality before the law, and deliver better services.
“We will not betray their trust, even if that means taking very difficult and painful action against our own colleagues,” he said.
“We hold the ANC to a high standard - and we have been relentless in doing so. We must, therefore, hold ourselves to the same standard, if not an even higher one.”