POLITICS
08/05/2018 10:48 SAST | Updated 08/05/2018 11:31 SAST

What Will De Lille's Axing Mean For DA Come 2019?

Analysts believe the DA's supporters in Cape Town, especially coloured voters, will not be happy with the party's decision, and this may affect the ballot.

The DA's "shortcut" to axe Patricia de Lille as mayor of Cape Town may have a detrimental effect on the party's electorate in the city, especially among coloured constituencies, come 2019.

This is according to political analysts, who said the DA's handling of the De Lille matter will come under scrutiny and lay bare the manner in which the party deals with its internal issues.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, members of the party's federal executive, including Natasha Mazzone and James Selfe, announced that in addition to various investigations undertaken by the DA, its decision to fire the mayor stems from extracts from a radio interview in April in which De Lille indicated that she intended to resign from the party as soon as she had cleared her name.

READ: Why The DA Fired Patricia De Lille.

Selfe made reference to the party's constitution, which states that "a member ceases to be a member when he or she publicly declares his or her intention to resign".

Politics expert at the University of South Africa Dirk Kotze said the decision to terminate De Lille's membership based on a radio interview was a "shortcut".

"Selfe conceded that this will not be the end of the process. It is clear the party knows this decision will be challenged in the courts. It seems there is much more to this situation than the base allegations set against De Lille. It shows deeper political issues were involved," he said.

"De Lille would have been a strong candidate to replace Zille as premier, and it seems the party was keen to have her removed before the process of nominations began. This will be detrimental for the DA in Cape Town. The party does not want to be seen as a continuation of its old administration, but this move undermines its progress in that regard."

Kotze said De Lille's axing will have a negative affect on the public perception of the DA in Cape Town.

"This will be especially true for the coloured community, who make up a majority in the city and mostly rally behind De Lille. Although it is unlikely DA voters will move to another party at the ballots, many may choose not to vote at all."

Political analyst Keith Gottschalk believes the DA would have wanted to resolve the De Lille matter before election campaigns in the province kicked off.

"It is also clear that as the DA grows larger, its factions get more and more competitive. They need to be shown to be transformative at all levels of leadership. Some will come and some will go, causing internal ruptures in the party over ideology."