South Africa, Politics

Between the Lines: De Lille to take government to court

By John Matisonn 5 September 2016

Re-elected with a bigger-than-ever majority, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has come out swinging, promising that “sunlight is the best disinfectant” in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, and possibly suing the national government to free up 600ha for affordable Cape Town housing. By JOHN MATISONN.

In the first of a two-episode interview, De Lille told CTV’s BETWEEN THE LINES with John Matisonn that Cape Town wants 600ha of land occupied by the SANDF at its Wingfield airbase, acquired more than 70 years ago, to ease the chronic housing backlog. De Lille said the SANDF wanted R800-million in compensation just for its moving costs. “We don’t need the army close by the city to protect only one group.”

Wingfield is one of a number of open spaces in Cape Town that belong to the national government. It is one part of addressing apartheid spatial planning. De Lille criticised the ANC for reinforcing apartheid spatial planning by building RDP houses far from the cities and work opportunities.

Cape Town sent officials to Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg and Tshwane during the local government election campaign and since taking over executive control, to advise on how to prevent corruption, clean up cities and show transparency in tender processes. Tshwane is “bankrupt”, she said, and Nelson Mandela Bay is “in the red by millions”.

In Cape Town she said no politician including the mayor is allowed to enter the floor in the municipality where tenders are processed, and the public can be present. Tender processes in the metros the DA now controls will follow this example.

She said one of Herman Mashaba’s first encounters after he entered the Johannesburg mayor’s office was with a group of officials who said they were ANC deployees and planned to leave office, but asked for golden handshakes to the end of the year. After checking their contracts, Mashaba found that they expired with the election, and declined to approve the extra payments. Among the first priorities for the new mayors will be cleaning the cities and repairing infrastructure.

Commenting on the ruling ANC’s continued spiral of self-destruction evident in the clash between President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, De Lille spoke warmly of the leadership and integrity of Gordhan, whom she worked with at Codesa. She deplored his “intimidation” by the government of President Jacob Zuma, whom she called “a very vicious man, very vindictive”, and particularly dangerous when he is in a corner, as she claimed he is now. She said his intelligence background negatively influenced his style of handling his office.

De Lille, who was a Pan Africanist Congress representative at Codesa and in the first democratic parliament, said that the trouble was that there were very few people left in the leadership of the ANC with a conscience: “They think with their stomachs.” DM

John Matisonn is the author of GOD, SPIES AND LIES, Finding South Africa’s future through its past, and host of CTV’S BETWEEN THE LINES.

Photo: Patricia de Lille (DA)

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