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De Lille dismisses gender imbalance criticism

Newly re-elected Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille has dismissed criticism that her mayoral committee is gender and racially imbalanced.

She was speaking after her inauguration for another five-year term.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) won the city in last week’s Local Government Election with a two-thirds majority.

The DA won 154 seats, the African National Congress (ANC) 57 and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) got seven seats in last week’s poll.

Former Deputy Mayor, Ian Neilson and Council Speaker, Dirk Smit, also retained their positions.

Opposition parties raised concerns for appointing only three women and five white males on her 13-member Mayco committee.

De Lille says the fact that a non-white female has been re-elected as Mayor, is being overlooked.

“I accept constructive criticism but there is no substance. First of all, they are not counting me. I don’t know what they think I am. I think the story should have been here ‘you have a black woman being elected for the second term, with a two thirds majority, making history in our country’. Not trying to look how many blacks, how many whites and how many coloured and Indians. I have fought all of my life against apartheid, and I will not allow people to divide our nation. The preamble of our constitution is very clear. We must unite in our diversity,” says de Lille.

The official opposition in the city has warned the DA that it will keep a close watch on the city’s administration.

ANC’s Xolani Sotashe says, “If you followed us in the last administration, we have been very hard on them. We managed to expose them in terms of the two-tale city. They don’t deny that and we’ve even been vindicated by Africa Check… that this myth… even today, the mayor repeated (that) about 67%  (was) spent on poor areas… it’s a myth; it’s a lie. And I think people of Cape Town, in no time, are going to feel this arrogance of the DA administration.”

Newcomers, the EFF, have promised to use its seven seats on the council to ensure better services for the poor.

“We will keep the DA accountable and ensure that they deliver to the people of the Western Cape and more specifically those that do not have a voice for themselves. So, those are the constituency that we are going to represent and we are going to ensure that we do that in a very effective and decent way,” says EFF Provincial Chairperson, Bernard Joseph.

Among the dignitaries present for the inauguration at the Civic Centre were DA leader Mmusi Maimane, party founder, Tony Leon and Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, together with Archbishop Emeritus, Njongonkulu Ndungane.

Maimane has congratulated the party for its achievement in the province and says more works still need to be done.

“With a two-thirds majority they have great responsibility of being able to the advance our work of freedom in the city, making sure that we build a fair city and ultimately more opportunities for all South Africans,” says Maimane.

Other smaller parties who received seats in the council include ACDP, COPE, PAC, and Al Jama-ah among others.

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