Still calling the tune: Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille addresses party supporters at the Chatty Community Hall in Bethelsdorp outside Port Elizabeth. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE/THE HERALD
Still calling the tune: Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille addresses party supporters at the Chatty Community Hall in Bethelsdorp outside Port Elizabeth. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE/THE HERALD

The DA is still pushing to reach a settlement with out-of-favour Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille ahead of a council motion of no confidence in her.

The Cape Town council is due to debate a DA-sponsored motion of no confidence in De Lille on Thursday, but this might fall by the wayside should the party reach some sort of agreement with De Lille.

Should the talks fail, the debate ensuing from the motion will mark the Western Cape ruling party’s third attempt to remove De Lille from office.

The embattled mayor survived an earlier motion in February in council.

An internal DA caucus motion of no confidence in her prevailed in April. But in June, the High Court in Cape Town ruled in her favour after she had requested the court to set aside the DA’s decision to strip her of her party membership.

Drawn-out battle

The drawn-out battle between De Lille and the DA is likely to hurt the party ahead of the general elections in 2019.

The deputy leader of the DA caucus in the Cape Town council, JP Smith, said talks with De Lille were still on.

"The federal executive will give us guidance … they might ask us to hold it [the no-confidence debate] until next month. Negotiations with De Lille continue … we are looking for alternatives," said Smith.

The Cape Town caucus had lost confidence in De Lille and the majority of members wanted her out, he said.

"Nothing has changed, it is the nepotism issue, it is the fact that we got a qualified audit … 70% of the caucus doesn’t have confidence in her.… She is only there because of ANC support.…

"She is no longer our leader. She is our boss because she has imposed herself via a technicality," said Smith.

DA federal executive chairman James Selfe could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Earlier in 2018, Selfe said the disputes related to the DA caucus in Cape Town being dissatisfied with her leadership style, which had resulted in two motions of no confidence and allegations she had abused her power while in office.

De Lille said: "The motion of no confidence is based on untested allegations without evidence. I remain committed in putting the people of Cape Town first. What must be, will be."

phakathib@businesslive.co.za