After 17 months of wrangling, Patricia de Lille has finally resigned as mayor of Cape Town, just six months before the next general election. The imbroglio has introduced three — perhaps more — significant questions into SA’s politics: what does the dispute say about the leadership of Mmusi Maimane; will the battle with De Lille cost the DA an absolute majority in the Western Cape; and what does the break-up say about the DA’s ability to run coalition governments? I have some sympathy with Maimane’s predicament regarding De Lille. When the fracas first broke out it wasn’t absolutely clear to Maimane, or anyone else for that matter, whether she committed an offence so grotesque that it was worth risking a flaming battle. I imagine he wondered whether the claims against her were propounded by the inevitable factions that seemingly crop up like so many mushrooms in politics. As it turns out, there were in fact sufficient grounds since it now transpires that De Lille most probably tried...

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