Embattled De Lille wins support from 'coloured faction' in ANC

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.
Image: TREVOR SAMSON

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has found an unlikely ally in the ANC amid talk of a possible splinter group of coloured people.

Sammy Claassen‚ the ANC South Coast regional spokesman‚ called on Facebook for his coloured comrades to rally behind De Lille as she faces the chop from the DA.

“Coloured people of the Cape should not abandon Patricia de Lille but should rather support her and should unite in solidarity with her across the country‚” said Claassen.

De Lille played down the implications of Claassen’s post. “The ANC here in council are supporting the DA‚ so I don’t want to get involved in those dimensions‚” she said‚ declining to comment further.

Last Friday‚ De Lille submitted a report to the DA giving reasons why she should not resign. The party’s federal council chairman‚ James Selfe‚ says the issue to be decided is “whether the DA has confidence in her and her ability to run the city and to manage the caucus”.

Claassen’s comments have stirred fresh rumours of a possible splinter party‚ a proposal allegedly being championed by former ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman and his supporters.

Party insiders‚ who spoke to TimesLive on condition of anonymity‚ said the move was because Fransman’s suspension following allegations of sexual harassment was not overturned at the ANC national conference in December.

Jabu Mfusi‚ a provincial executive member who defended Fransman during his troubles‚ said he had seen social media posts which were the antithesis of what the ANC was trying to build.

“They want to play victim in the ANC. You can see this has to do with Fransman because [the people pushing it are] Sammy Claassen‚ Bumper Morgan and [Fransman’s] PA‚ Vanessa le Roux. They have got an agenda to cripple the ANC when they leave‚” he said.

Mfusi said it was wrong to create an impression that Fransman was kicked out of the ANC by black people in the party‚ as they were leading his defence.

“What are they doing defending De Lille? She is a DA person but the link here is that Claassen was in the [Independent Democrats] with De Lille‚” added Mfusi.

Claassen said his post was intended to raise concerns about the decline of electoral support for the ANC since the departure of the Ebrahim Rasool as provincial chairman.

In his initial post‚ he listed Rasool‚ Allan Boesak and Fransman as some of the coloured leaders who had been sidelined or “dealt with”‚

“There is a serious disconnect between the ANC and the coloured majority in the Western Cape‚” he said‚ but denied plans to start a splinter coloured party.

Le Roux said the issue of coloureds feeling marginalised in the ANC was being brushed off even though it came up regularly when the party engaged with voters.

“It’s not a matter of leadership‚ it’s a matter of principle ... is there equal treatment in the movement for coloureds?” she said.

Le Roux said the Cape Forum‚ an NGO founded by Fransman‚ will debate the matter in two weeks. When contacted‚ Fransman said he was in a meeting and could not comment.

The ANC leader in Cape Town‚ Xolani Sotashe‚ said it was dangerous to mobilise on the basis of race in support of De Lille.

“It’s a serious contradiction. De Lille a leader of the DA. That narrative is wrong because it tells us that if we are dealing with the DA‚ we must first check if it’s a person of our colour‚ and if it’s a person of our colour‚ we must not play our role as the opposition‚” said Sotashe.

De Lille is under investigation for allegedly covering up claims of wrongdoing by Melissa Whitehead. Here is a brief overview.

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