Sun. Oct 20th, 2019

Minister Patricia de Lille: How Aunty Pat got her cabinet position

patricia de lille GOOD manifesto electionsSouth Africa’s new minister of Public Works and Infrastructure has some strong credentials…

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In one of the biggest surprises of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet announcement, leader of the Good Party Patricia de Lille was named as the minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Development.

The great about turn

The revelation is an exclamation point to a truly tumultuous 18 months for De Lille, affectionately known to her supporters as Auntie Pat.

At the beginning of 2018, her position at the Democratic Alliance as Mayor of Cape Town came under severe pressure after the closure of a special investigation unit operating in the city.

She survived a vote of no confidence in February but had her membership to the party revoked in May when she admitted to Radio 702 she was planning to resign from her position once she had proven her innocence.

As she was no longer a member of the DA, she was no longer eligible to be mayor of Cape Town. At this point, the Western Cape High Court got involved and suspended her removal as mayor. By the end of June, the court voted unanimously to have her membership to the party reinstated.

Patricia de Lille gets to Parliament before the DA

In August, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced a mutual agreement for De Lille and the party to go their separate ways. She resigned as mayor and they dropped all internal charges against her.

This led to her forming the Good Party, who had a relatively decent first showing in the 2019 elections earning 3.03% of the provincial vote in the Western Cape.

From there, to say the rise was meteoric seems somehow not enough. On 22 May 2019 she was elected to the National Assembly, before Ramaphosa’s stunning announcement seven days later, making her the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Development

The portfolio

De Lille is a very experienced politician and has a very strong following in her native Western Cape. The highlights include:

  • Mayor of Cape Town: June 2011 – August 2018
  • Provincial Leader of the Western Cape: 18 April 2015 – 1 February 2017
  • Leader of the Independent Democrats: 21 June 2003 – 21 May 2014
  • Western Cape Provincial Minister of Social Development: 22 September 2010 – 31 May 2011

According to South African History Online, De Lille serves on the boards of the following organisations:

  • Fikelela HIV/AIDS Project
  • Age-in-Action – Patron
  • Diocesan College-Bishops – council member
  • Nazareth House HIV/Aids Children
  • St Joseph’s Home for chronically sick children
  • Helen Suzman Foundation
  • Impumelelo Innovation Awards
  • Caring Network
  • Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund
  • HIV/Aids Babies Battling HIV/AIDS Trust

The reaction to Minister Patricia de Lille

While South Africa’s prevailing reaction to the announcement has been shock, there has been a lot of positivity surrounding it too, as well as more than a little fun at the DA’s expense.

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