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New DA leader: Time to heal split between De Lille, Smith

08 October 2017 10:10 PM
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Madikizela won the hotly contested race against fellow DA member of the provincial legislature Lennit Max at the governing party’s congress over the weekend, replacing Mayor Patricia de Lille, who had resigned from the position in January.

Following the victory by 16 votes, there was a call for unity within the province.

“We must be a party that allows open discussion but we are dealing with allegations that, if true, the party must take action against.

“However, due process must take its course, but we cannot allow these prominent members to damage the party’s brand by having public spats,” Madikizela told the Cape Times.

De Lille and safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith have been placed on special leave from all DA activities in the Cape Town Metro after Smith questioned the shutdown by De Lille of the City’s special investigating unit headed by him.

Madikizela said a special task team had begun its investigation into the allegations against both members and he was confident the matter would reach a conclusion soon.

The new provincial leader himself faced allegations following his birthday party in May after revelations that he may have violated the Western Cape Legislature’s rules when he failed to declare a R3 000 cake given to him as a gift at a birthday party held at the One and Only Hotel in Cape Town.

The allegations were found to be unfounded by an investigation by the legislature’s conduct committee, said Madikizela, and were part of a smear campaign to damage his chances at the congress.

He said that following the election outcome he received well-wishes from DA party leader Mmusi Maimane, Premier Helen Zille and De Lille.

Smith said that the conditions of his special leave were clear, despite his election as one of three deputy chairpersons.

“The task team only started discussions last week and I am sure they will communicate in due course but they still had more to do.

“I am still not allowed to attend any political structures but my council work goes on unabated,” he said.

The spokesperson for De Lille, Zara Nicholson, had not responded to queries by the time of publication, while DA party spokesperson Phumzile van Damme could not be reached by deadline.


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