CAPE TOWN – Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has resigned from her dual role as leader of the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape, the party confirmed on Monday.
De Lille has been mayor since 2011 and said she wanted to focus on this role. Her resignation takes effect on February 1.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s office said the position would be filled by the party’s deputy leader in the province, Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, until a new leader was elected at a provincial congress later this year.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille on Monday said she has resigned from her dual role as leader of the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape to focus fully on running the city.
She will step down as provincial leader on Wednesday.
In her open resignation letter to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, De Lille described the party’s two-thirds majority in the City of Cape Town as a massive responsibility and said she wished to devote all her attention to implementing the city’s governance transformation plan.
“Taking Cape Town to the next level of government is an exciting prospect but one that will take all my time,” she wrote.
“The responsibility of a two thirds majority weighs heavily on me. This result is a massive endorsement of the DA’s record in government in Cape Town but it is also a massive responsibility.”
De Lille, who has been mayor since 2011, said she believed that a landslide election victory did not give a party a right to complacency, but rather a duty to exceed voters’ expectations.
“One cannot do the same things and expect to get different results. That is why, in order to improve our performance for all residents, we have embarked on implementing our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, in accordance with Cape Town’s manifesto commitment to modernise and reform the government to improve service delivery.”
She stressed that the plan was focused on redress, reconciliation, delivery and diversity to create a city that offered opportunity to all its residents.
Maimane’s office said the position would be filled by the party’s deputy leader in the province, Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, until a new leader was elected at a provincial congress later this year.
Party members on Monday said they were not surprised by De Lille’s decision, given the big responsibility of the two positions she has held and the need to reward the support of those who handed the DA a resounding mandate to run the city.
Maimane’s office signalled that it understood De Lille’s wish to concentrate fully on running Cape Town, in line with the party’s policy of growing its support base by governing well in the metros it controls in a bid to show voters it could run the country.
Maimane’s spokesman, Mabine Seabe, said given the DA’s strong majority in Cape Town, the governance of the city over the next two years was “essentially almost an audition for the 2019 the elections”.
He said Maimane had thanked De Lille for her leadership in the province and commended her “as a leader who leads from the front”. Maimane also described the DA’s improved performance in the province and city in the August 2016 government elections as “a direct result of her tireless campaigning”.
De Lille further said she believed the provincial DA leadership would benefit from fresh ideas from a new generation that could help the party increase its national support. She gave her whole-hearted support to Maimane, adding that she believed he was capable of leading the country.
She said she was particularly proud of Cape Town recently making the Financial Times’s list of the 30 cities with the best strategies on foreign direct investment, the only city in Africa to do so.
– African News Agency (ANA)