Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The DA infighting in the Western Cape continued to escalate on Thursday with the party’s provincial leader charging that Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille was governing the city without a mandate.

In a day of high drama in the Cape Town city council, De Lille survived a motion of no confidence against her by a whisker.

She had earlier walked out of the council chamber before voting commenced after speaker Dirk Smit decided the poll would be an open ballot. Earlier this week, De Lille approached the High Court in Cape Town on an urgent basis to have the vote of no confidence in her leadership conducted by secret ballot, to protect councillors who flouted the party line.

The court ruled that her application had merit but said the speaker should decide.

A total of 110 councillors voted against the DA-sponsored motion, while 109 others voted to remove the mayor.

Opposition parties had indicated they would vote against the motion or abstain.

The motion needed a simple majority of the 231-seat council to succeed. The DA has 154 seats, and the ANC 57. The EFF has seven seats, making it the third-largest party in the council.

"It is important … to note that the vast majority of DA councillors expressed their lack of confidence in the mayor and that she has survived in large part due to the support of the ANC and the other smaller opposition parties — 75% of the DA caucus voted in favour of the motion," said DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.

"This means she in effect is governing without a party mandate. This is a serious undermining of the DA, its values and the electoral mandate which we were given by the people of Cape Town."

Madikizela said the caucus had tabled the motion of no confidence in De Lille following a number of damning allegations against her pertaining to maladministration and governance failures, "not least by an independent council investigation and the auditor-general".

"The federal legal commission’s investigation against the mayor is ongoing and its findings will be communicated in due course."

De Lille is set to face a disciplinary hearing on a date yet to be set. After the vote, she said the result took " bravery by the DA councillors who supported me today", and she thanked opposition parties "for seeing beyond party lines and voting on a matter of principle".

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