Patricia de Lille

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Patricia de Lille
Patricia de Lille.jpg
Mayor of Cape Town
Assumed office
1 June 2011
Preceded by Dan Plato
Provincial Minister for Social Development
In office
22 September 2010 – 31 May 2011
Premier Helen Zille
Preceded by Ivan Meyer
Succeeded by Albert Fritz
Leader of the Independent Democrats
In office
21 June 2003 – 21 May 2014
Preceded by Party founded
Succeeded by Party merged into
Democratic Alliance
Member of the National Assembly
In office
10 May 1994 – 10 September 2010
Constituency Western Cape
Personal details
Born (1951-02-17) 17 February 1951 (age 67)
Beaufort West, Cape Province, South Africa
Nationality South African
Political party Democratic Alliance (2010–present)
Other political
Independent Democrats (2003–2010)
Pan Africanist Congress (1987–2003)
Profession Laboratory technician
Trade unionist

Patricia de Lille (born 17 February 1951) is a South African politician who is currently serving as Mayor of Cape Town, in office since 2011 [1] She was the founder and the leader of the Independent Democrats (ID), a political party which she formed in 2003 during a floor-crossing window, after she broke away from the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). In August 2010, the ID merged with the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's official opposition, and the party was officially dissolved in 2014.

De Lille was selected as the DA's mayoral candidate in Cape Town, defeating incumbent Dan Plato, ahead of the 2011 local government elections, when she was elected mayor.[2]

De Lille was voted 22nd in the Top 100 Great South Africans, and is noted for her role in investigations into the country's controversial Arms Deal.[3]

On 8 May 2018 the DA's Federal Executive terminated De Lille's party membership, thereby removing her as mayor of the DA governed city.[4][5] A week later, the Western Cape High court temporarily suspended the cessation of her membership from the Democratic Alliance, effectively reinstating her as Mayor[6] until a full hearing could take place.[7] On May 31, 2018, The Cape Town City Council voted to relieve De Lille of her executive powers. She now has a ceremonial role as Mayor of Cape Town. [8] A vote of no confidence was scheduled in July 2018, but was later withdrawn.

On August 5, 2018, De Lille announced that she would be stepping as Mayor of Cape Town, effective 31 October 2018.


De Lille at the Nelson Mandela memorial concert at the Cape Town Stadium in 2013

De Lille was born in 1951 in Beaufort West, and attended Bastiaanse Hoërskool.[9] In 1974 she became a laboratory technician at a factory. She remained involved with the same company until 1990.[9] During this time, she became involved in the South African Chemical Workers Union, starting off as a shop steward and then becoming regional secretary, before being elected to National Executive Member in 1983.[9] In 1988 she was elected as National Vice-President of The National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), the highest position for a woman in the trade union movement at that time.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

In 1989 De Lille was elected onto the National Executive Committee of the Pan Africanist Movement (PAM). She led a delegation in the constitutional negotiations that preceded South Africa's first democratic election in 1994, and, following her election as a Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) MP,[10] she was appointed as Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport from 1994–1999. She also served on various portfolio Committees including Health, Minerals and Energy, Trade and Industry, Communications, the Rules Committee and the Code of Ethics.[9]

Later, she made use of parliamentary privilege to be a whistle-blower on the South African Arms Deal.

In 2003, de Lille made use of a floor crossing window to break with the PAC, and form her own party, the Independent Democrats.[10]


Arms Deal[edit]

De Lille led the call for an investigation into alleged corruption in South Africa's purchase of weapons costing £4bn from British and other European manufacturers (that cost has soared on the basis of foreign currency collapses to more than its original cost although the Rand £ and Rand $ exchange rates have now reduced the costs to almost the same level as the original cost.). The government rejected De Lille's calls for an independent inquiry to be led by Judge Willem Heath. De Lille said she was accused of being unpatriotic and embarrassing the country as a consequence of her efforts to investigate the Arms Deal."[11]

On 5 April 2009, the Independent Democrats confirmed De Lille's attendance at the announcement of the National Prosecuting Authority the following day regarding its decision either to drop or to maintain its case against ANC President Jacob Zuma, who had been implicated in the Arms Deal. In an op-ed for The Sunday Times, De Lille predicted that the charges would be dropped:

Am I angry? Of course I am angry. I am angry because the majority of our people are not seeing the warning signs that are coming from the ANC, a liberation party that has no respect for the Constitution and the rule of law and is prepared to erode both just so that one man can become the leader of our country.

By letting these ANC crooks off the hook we are sending entirely the wrong message to our people. Government is saying that there is a way out for those who break the law.[12]

On the morning of the NPA's much-awaited announcement, De Lille was turned away from proceedings, being told that, as a member of the public, she would have to find a television set.[13] Leader of the Democratic Alliance Helen Zille met with the same fate.[14]

Awards and recognition[edit]

De Lille was awarded the Freedom of the City of Birmingham, Alabama, and in 2004 was awarded the honour of being one of the Top 5 Women in Government and Government Agencies.[15] She was also awarded the 2004 Old Mutual South African Leadership Award in the Category of Woman Leadership.[16]

In July 2006 she was the first woman to be recognised as Honorary Colonel of 84 Signal Unit in the South African National Defence Force.[17] In August 2006 she received the City Press and Rapport Newspaper award as one of top 10 women in South Africa.[18]

At the invitation of Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ms de Lille was the only South African Member of Parliament who attended the United Nations Millennium Project hosted by the Earth Institute at Columbia University.[citation needed] This high level meeting was convened on 17 September 2006 in New York.[citation needed]

A Markinor survey conducted in 2004 found that De Lille was South Africa's favourite politician after Thabo Mbeki.[19]

Joining the DA[edit]

De Lille with DA Leader Helen Zille, 2010.

On 13 August 2010, after meetings with both the DA and ID executive, it was decided that the ID would indeed merge with the DA. On 15 August 2010, de Lille and DA Leader Helen Zille announced to the public that the ID would join the DA.


During the 2004 general election, disgruntled former members of the Independent Democrats accused her of running the party in a "undemocratic" manner - in direct contrast with the image of transparency and accountability that she grounded her party on. De Lille told reporters that the dissenters had been fired from the party for fraud and corruption.[20]

As Mayor of Cape Town, de Lille has been perceived to have had a conflict of interest regarding the private sector developments by friends of hers in Clifton.[21] As mayor de Lille was accused by businessman Anthony Faul of demanding a R5 million bribe so as to secure a procurement contract to supply fire extinguishers in 2013.[22]

Removal as mayor of Cape Town[edit]

In September 2017 de Lille controversially ordered that the City of Cape Town's special investigations unit be closed against the wishes of the city's committee member for safety, security and social services Jean-Pierre Smith.[23][24] The closure of the investigative unit led to allegations that de Lille improperly benefited from security upgrades at public expense to her home. The security upgrades allegations were investigated by the auditor-general and dismissed.[25]

Following the closure of the unit and a breakdown in the working relationship between de Lille and Smith the Democratic Alliance charged de Lille with misconduct amid allegations against her of intimidation, criminality and misconduct.[24]

On 15 February 2018, she survived a vote of no confidence by one vote (110 no votes, 109 yes votes and 3 abstentions).[26] Following the no confidence vote an internal vote on April 25 within the DA caucus governing the City of Cape Town voted for the removal of the mayor.[27]

On 8 May 2018 the DA's Federal Executive terminated De Lille's Membership, Federal executive chairperson James Selfe said De Lille's membership was terminated after an interview De Lille did with Radio 702 radio host Eusebius McKaiser, where she said that she would resign once she had cleared her name. Her expulsion from the Democratic Alliance meant that she could no longer remain as mayor of Cape Town.[4] The Western Cape High Court temporarily suspended her removal,[28] and heard arguments about her removal on 4-5 June,[29] The Cape Town City Council voted on May 31, 2018, to strip De Lille of her executive powers.[30] On 27 June, the court voted unanimously to reinstate De Lille's party membership, finding that the DA had failed to follow its own constitution when it invoked its cessation clause against De Lille. In July 2018, a vote of no confidence was scheduled, but was later withdrawn.[31]


On August 5, 2018, the Democratic Alliance leader, Mmusi Maimane, announced at a joint news conference that the party had reached an "mutual agreement" with De Lille. The agreement being that De Lille would resign as Mayor of Cape, effective October 31, 2018 and that the party would withdraw all internal charges against her. She would also remain as member of the Democratic Alliance. The announcement of her resignation came a day before the party's disciplinary proceedings would start.

The African National Congress Cape Town Caucus described the agreement as "illicit" and stated that the resignation "opens a backdoor for a different mayor other than the one people voted for." [32][33][34]


  1. ^ Adams, Nathan (1 June 2011). "De Lille receives Cape Town mayoral chain". Eyewitness News. Retrieved 1 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Brendan Boyle (20 May 2011). "Patricia de Lille next mayor of Cape Town". Times LIVE. 
  3. ^ "The 10 Greatest South Africans of all time". 27 September 2004. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  4. ^ a b "Public reacts to #DeLille ousting". Cape Argus. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  5. ^ "DA did not follow proper procedure when removing #DeLille, court told | IOL News". Retrieved 2018-07-03. 
  6. ^ Wyk, Andre van (2018-05-15). "South Africa: Embattled Cape Town Mayor Wins Court Battle to Stay in Office". Retrieved 2018-05-15. 
  7. ^ Herman, Paul (15 May 2018). "Patricia De Lille wins bid to be temporarily reinstated". News24. 
  8. ^ Smith, Graig-Lee. "Patricia de Lille stripped of her executive powers". Retrieved 2018-07-03. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Patricia de Lille". 
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ McGreal, Chris (16 February 2001). "Opposition loner is thorn in flesh of South African government". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  12. ^ Otter 2009.
  13. ^ ["De Lille barred from NPA headquarters", IOL, 6 April 2009]
  14. ^ "Access denied to Zille", IOL, 6 April 2009.
  15. ^ "De Lille, Patricia - The O'Malley Archives". Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  16. ^ "Leadership is key, says Old Mutual". Old Mutual. 9 February 2004. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. 
  17. ^ "Patricia de Lille becomes Honorary Colonel" (PDF). South African Soldier. September 2006. Archived from the original (pdf) on March 3, 2016. 
  18. ^ "The 10th annual Rapport/City Press Prestige Awards 2006". City Press. 8 August 2006. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. 
  19. ^ "'In Mbeki we trust'". IOL. April 14, 2004. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  20. ^,,2-7-1557_1504685,00.html
  21. ^
  22. ^ Bendile, Dineo (8 February 2018). "Shack fires bring more legal woes for De Lille". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  23. ^ Dolley, Caryn (29 September 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: Murder, irregularity claims surface after De Lille 'shuts down' City of Cape Town investigative unit". News24. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  24. ^ a b Dolley, Caryn (16 January 2018). "De Lille's controversial Cape Town investigating unit 'shut down' could be reversed". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  25. ^ "Upgrades To De Lille's Home Were Above Board". HuffPost South Africa. 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  26. ^ Jenni Evans and Tammy Petersen (15 February 2018). "De Lille survives motion of no confidence". News24. Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  27. ^ NICO GOUS & ARON HYMAN (25 April 2018). "DA passes vote of no confidence in De Lille". Retrieved 2018-05-08. 
  28. ^ Herman, Paul (15 May 2018). "Gloves off as DA declares De Lille's return 'ceremonial'". News24. 
  29. ^ Etheridge, Jenna; Herman, Paul (23 May 2018). "De Lille's court hearing postponed 'because judges need more time to prepare'". News24. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Dan Plato
Mayor of Cape Town
Preceded by
Ivan Meyer
Provincial Minister of Social Development (Western Cape)
Succeeded by
Albert Fritz
Party political offices
New political party Leader of the Independent Democrats
Succeeded by
Position Abolished
Party political offices