Patricia de Lille
Names: de Lille, Patricia
Born: 1951, Beaufort West, Cape Town
In summary: Politician, former member of PAC, trade unionist, founder and a leader of Independent Democrats (ID) and Mayor of Cape Town.
Patricia de Lille was born in 1951 in Beaufort West, in the Cape. She received her primary education at the Methodist Primary School and thereafter went to finish her schooling in 1969 at Bastiaanse Hoerskool. In 1974 she worked as a laboratory technician for Plascon Paints and remained there for 16 years.
During this time, she became involved in Trade Union politics and was a member of the South African Chemical Workers' Union (SACWU). She started off as a shop steward and soon was SACWU's regional secretary. She then went on to the National Executive Committee of SACWU and was also the regional chairperson of the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU) in the Western Cape. Politically NACTU was to the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) what the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is to the ANC.
In 1989, she was elected into the National Executive Committee of the Pan Africanist Movement (PAM), a wing of the PAC. When the PAC and other political organisations were unbanned in 1990, she was appointed as foreign secretary and relief and aid secretary of the party. During the CODESA negotiations, Patricia led the PAC delegation and after the first democratic elections, she was appointed as a member of parliament. Between 1994 and 1999, she was the chairperson of the Transport committee and the chief whip for the PAC in parliament. She also served in various portfolio committees including Health, Mineral and Energies, Trade and Industry, Communication, the rules committee and the codes of ethics. Ironically, de Lille used the very same rule of floor crossing that she fiercely opposed in parliament to break away from the Pan Africanist Congress to form her own political party, Independent Democrats in 2003. She retained her seat in parliament. After 2004 general election and 2006 Municipal elections ID improved its representatives in all sphere of governments.
In 2004 she was elected a chancellor of the Durban Institute of Technology (DIT). She has been vocal on other sensitive issues such as corruption, HIV/AIDS, women and child abuse, children in prison, xenophobia and poverty, Patricia serves on the boards of the following organisations.
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- Fikilela HIV/AIDS Project
- Age-in-Action - Patron
- Diocesan College-Bishops - council member
- Nazareth House HIV/Aids Children, where she sponsors one child
- St Josephs 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
She is also a member of both the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption. Patricia was the first politician to expose corruption in the controversial arms deal in South Africa ultimately leading to the investigation of government officials, such as former ANC Chief Whip and already convicted Tony Yengeni.
She was recently awarded the HIV/AIDS activist award by Canadian based organisation, South African Women for Women and was awarded the freedom of the city of Birmingham Alabama, an honour bestowed upon only 4 other South Africans.
- Patricia de Lille [Online]. Available at: en.wikipedia.org [Accessed 03 December 2009]
- Book of South African Women: Politics. Patricia de Lille - Leader Independent Democrats. Mail & Guardian Online [Online]. Available at: www.mg.co.za [Accessed 03 December 2009]
- Independent Democrats\'s website