31.7.06

The 20 most loathsome South Africans: Number 20: Patricia de Lille

A face you can trust


Patricia de Lille deserves her place in the 20 most loathsome South Africans not because of her career, which in general was respectable, but because when the moment came to speak truth to power, she shirked, and in a grand betrayal chose power over truth. Her actions during the 2006 Cape Town municipal elections negated all that came before, and it is this moment by which she will be remembered. She is loathsome not for what she was, but for what she could have been.

In early 2000, the Democratic Party (DP) formed a coalition with the National Party (NP), named the Democratic Alliance (DA), in order to stand up to the dominant African National Congress (ANC). In the 2000 municipal elections, this coalition was able to beat the ANC in the most hotly contested municipality, Cape Town, with 56.5% of the vote to the ANC’s 38.15%. However, Martinus van Schalkwyk, that spineless last leader of the NP and traitor to the Afrikaner people, decided to cross over to the ANC on the promise of more of whatever it was he believes make a man. The actions of this liar, combined with the nonsensical floor crossing law, took Cape Town municipality away from its democratically elected council and gave it to the ANC.

During the 2006 municipal elections, everybody knew that Cape Town would once again be one of the most contested municipalities. Before the elections, many smaller parties, including the DA and Patricia de Lille’s newly formed Independent Democrats (ID) decided to put their differences aside in order to be effective opposition to the ANC.

On election day, this coalition was able to beat the ANC, thanks to so many of the members of small political parties refusing to be bought or intimidated by ANC rapscallions. Of the 210-seat council, the DA won 90 seats, the ANC 81, the ID 23, with the rest split between smaller parties, most of them backing the DA.

It was a good day for democracy in South Africa.

Enter the politician’s fear of death. Patricia de Lille had always prided herself on standing up to ANC domination, and up to this point in her career she had lived this promise. But straight after the results of the Cape Town elections were posted, the ANC approached De Lille with an offer that must somewhere have made reference to her eternal soul. They offered her a place in their fold if she sided with them, and the two-faced liar turned on a dime. Like Anakin choosing the Dark Side, she broke off from the coalition and walked over to her sworn opposition, just like that.

It all came down to the vote for mayor. As no party had a clear majority, the mayor would be the power player in the council. It all seemed over for the DP, as Patricia de Lille now backed the ANC’s notoriously incompetent and corrupt incumbent mayor, the dim-witted Nomaindia Mfeketo. Yet when the votes were counted, the coalition had miraculously won by the smallest of margins - 106 votes for the DA’s candidate Helen Zille against 103 for Mfeketo. There were efforts by the ANC and ID to disrupt the voting, but the dye was cast.

And Patricia was left out in the cold, without an ideological house to call her home. She tried everything to reverse the count, even calling for the city to be placed under provincial administration, but her lowly efforts were in vain. When the DA offered De Lille two seats in the 9-seat mayoral council, as would have been the case if De Lille had not betrayed the coalition, she responded with a demand for a change in government from the mayoral executive to the executive committee system, a move that would have excluded the smaller parties from the leadership fray.

At this late stage, having betrayed and been forgiven, she could not accept those who forgave her, because in them she could see what she no longer was: An honest human being.

And so the book closes on Patricia de Lille.

9 comments:

b said...

do you think there is any chance that she thought she was doing the right thing? or at least found a way to convince herself it was a means to a cause?

Anonymous said...

I read through all of your hyperlinked articles and it had more plot than any fiction I have read lately.

Amazing that individuals could sell their 'souls' for a gamble on party which does not even guarantee security to its own kind.

I particularly liked your apt wording ' but for what she could have been'.

During a recent sojourn to my home country, South Africa, I was shocked at the obvious collapse of the infrastructure in the cape. I was there until the day after the election and I have to admit that I neglected to cast my valuable vote as so many expatriates do.
(I probably have no right to complain.)

The obvious neglect of the roadworks on the N1 and N2 and the regulated power cuts or 'rolling black-outs' in the Western Cape
were signs of incompetence as the local government and Koeberg had to investigate sabotage of one generator and the neglect of another's servicing and refuelling. Capetonians relied purely on power from Mpumalanga Coal fired power stations as they probably will until new parts have been built for one of the generators.

Affirmative action and nepotism are the two greatest contributors to the lack of expertise and accountability of Koeberg management and the apparent inertia of these energy specialists in solving an energy-shortage which was identified years ago is ludicrous.

I am very fond of this city, which sometimes feels more like home than any other place in the world. I have not given up hope that the effects of corruption on its primary resources would cease.

It is shocking that this 'floor-crossing' law seemed acceptable to any rational politician and therefore we may deduce that those who backed it are not.

But, I think that South Africans become so numb to corruption,fraud and false claims that it is easy to find yourself more able to accept this 'truthiness'. People feel righteous even when they are performing criminal acts which they are no longer able to judge due to this gradual conditioning to accept lower moral standards.

I immediately realized my propensity to think of myself as 'above certain laws' when I started traveling. Societies which are still abiding by the most acceptable social construct do not look favourably upon this flexibility of morals and the law. Most 'God-fearing' South Africans are not this aloof. I suspect that most people do practice minor road-safety rules as the logic behind them is ensuring your own safety. I just think we become rebellious just for the sake of rebellion sometimes.

Perhaps Cape Town should have suburbian governments under the Cape Town government to help them handle Rates, Roads and Rubbish. This 'local area government' is sometimes successful in taking the strain off the municipality and county government.

Small suburbs could then vote for people they actually know to act on their behalf in the city's governing.

But before they complicate the government, they should first sort out the backlog of problems which is the legacy of Nomaindia Mfeketo's 'reign'-the storm in the Cape's teacup.

Thanks for exposing Patricia.

Anonymous said...

on a party

hein said...

thanks for the comment anon.

I must say in blithe comment on the future of South Africa that there are sectors where the country is doing very well indeed. Cape Town it is true is suffering from corruption and incompetence, but Johannesburg, however, is booming. The place looks terrible, but that is just because it is now a destination for every poor person in the entire Africa. On my way to work I drive down a massive road that was built by private contractors who own the surrounding developments. They did not wait for government to improve the road, they just did it themselves. There is so much money here. The problem is that it is very concentrated, but if we can stay stable for 30 years we might just make it.

hein said...

blithe as in indifferent. thanks for asking.

BTW, why is your profile not accessible? Is there a secret handshake or something? I know the freemason one with the thumb. Is that good enough? :)

iv said...
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iv said...
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hein said...

So the truth is still out there...

Pray, may I enquire as to why you would think I am a 'fraternity type'?

iv said...
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