Outgoing Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille says she will give her replacement Dan Plato “the benefit of the doubt” to continue the work she did during her seven years in office.
“He will be inheriting a city which is well run,” De Lille told News24.
“The irony is that, when I came here, I replaced him. And now he is coming back. We [have] had meetings [to make the transition as smooth as possible and] we’re working well together.”
Following a long and ugly battle with the DA, De Lille and party leader Mmusi Maimane announced her resignation in September. This comes after a year of public infighting, which eventually saw her quit from the position she has held for seven years, and the DA dropping all internal charges against her.
Her last day in office will be on Wednesday, October 31.
The city’s longest serving mayor said her replacement “does come with experience”. He replaced Helen Zille as mayor in 2009 when she became Western Cape premier.
“He also comes with a safety and security [background as the current MEC]. Safety is a major concern for me. I have lived in Cape Town all my life, but the gang violence and the drug abuse has never been as bad as it is now. Never,” she said.
“It’s time for local, provincial and national government to go back to the drawing board, because somewhere, in terms of reacting to crime, we failed. We must just acknowledge that. Dan comes with experience around crime issues, so I am sure he will be able to make some valuable contributions.”
‘I can’t sit still’
With less than two weeks until her tenure comes to an end, De Lille admitted she had not yet made any decisions regarding her future.
“I can’t sit still. I work 16 hours a day, sometimes Saturdays and Sundays too, so it’s going to be difficult for me to get out of that routine and not come to work every day,” she said.
De Lille, 67, insisted retirement was the last thing on her mind.
“I am not ready to retire now, no, not at all. I still need to keep busy. I think people who retire so early just go and sit and die at home.”
Her office has been running two separate diaries for her – her official engagements and tasks and another which they call “please do before you go”.
“I will take off a week or two after November 1. I told my family I will then discuss the next phase of my life with them. Once I have made my final decision, I will certainly take South Africans into my confidence. I will tell them what I want to, and am going to, do with the rest of my life. But for now, I am just focusing on the transition.”
She was also writing a book about her life in politics, which she hoped to finish early next year, she said.