- Patricia de Lille rose from being a shop steward to leading her own political party
- The DA announced that it's ending her party membership
- De Lille's next political move remains to be seen
Patricia de Lille has had a chequered political career, but one thing is for certain — she's a determined political survivor.
Her party, the Democratic Alliance, announced on 8 May that it's ending her party membership. This effectively puts her position as Mayor of the City of Cape Town in jeopardy.
For many observers, however, this is not likely to end her political career. Briefly.co.za looks at how she became one of South Africa's most talked-about politicians.
From shop steward to leading the Independent Democrats.
Born in 1951, De Lille began her political career as a shop steward for the South African Chemical Workers' Union (SACWU).
She rose through the ranks and was elected to the union's national executive committee in 1983. De Lille was later elected National Council of Union Trade Union's Vice President in 1988.
She became an NEC member of the Pan Africanist Movement, which was part of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), in 1989.
De Lille's profile was already a prominent one as she led the PAC's delegation to the Codesa negotiations. She subsequently became a member of parliament after the 1994 elections.
However, De Lille broke away from the PAC and formed the Independent Democrats (ID) in 2003. ID became the first South African party led by a woman to contest elections and win seats in parliament.
She became an outspoken critic of corruption and is known as the whistleblower of the notorious arms deal-related corruption.
De Lille surprised many political observers when she merged ID with the DA in 2010. She has been serving the DA since then, including in her current (and soon to be ended) capacity as Mayor of Cape Town.
After her effective expulsion from the DA, De Lille's next political move remains to be seen.
Some have suggested that she could be headed to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), given her recent appearance at the party's memorial service for the late Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
The 2019 elections are just around the corner, and it won't be long before she makes her move.
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