Patricia de Lille, a South African politician, was born the 17 February, 1951 in Beaufort West to Henry and Gertrude Lindt. She received her primary education at the Methodist Primary School and thereafter completed her secondary education at Bastiaanse Hoërskool in 1969. In 1974, she worked as a laboratory technician for Plascon Paints and remained there for 16 years.
During this time, she became heavily involved in trade union politics and joined as a member of the South African Chemical Workers' Union (SACWU). She started off as a shop steward but slowly worked her way up as SACWU's regional secretary. She then went on to form part of 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 African National Congress (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, de Lille was appointed as foreign secretary and relief and aid secretary of the party. During the CODESA negotiations, De Lille led the PAC delegation and after the first democratic elections, she was appointed as a member of parliament.
Between 1994 and 1999, she served as the chairperson of the Transport committee and the chief whip for the PAC in parliament. She also served on various portfolio committees including the Health, Mineral and Energies portfolios as well as onthe rules committee, the codes of ethics and many others. 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; officially becoming the first South African woman to formally establish her own political party, the Independent Democrats (ID) in 2003.
With her new party winning four seats in the national de Lille retained her position as a parliamentarian. She used her position to voice her opinions on issues such as corruption, women and child abuse, HIV/Aids and others such as, children in prison, xenophobia and poverty. Patricia 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, where she sponsors one child
- 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
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, Tony Yengeni.
In 2004 she was awarded the HIV/AIDS activist award by Canadian-based organisation, South African Women for Women. Another first for South African women, Patricia would become the first woman to be recognised as a Honorary Colonel in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 2006.
In a surprise political move, the ID merged with the Democratic Alliance (DA) 2010, in an effort to better oppose the ruling ANC. Seen as a move toward strengthening the cooperation between both parties, the ID officially disbanded as a separate political organization in 2014. During this period de Lille served as the Minister for Social Development of the Western Cape from 2010-2011 and come 2011, de Lille would succeed fellow DA Member Dan Plato as the Mayor of the City of Cape Town, a position she holds as of February 2018.
From mid-2017 to the beginning of 2018, de Lille has come under fire for potential misconduct as a result of a broad investigation into the City of Cape Town’s management executives. In September 2017, she received a suspension from DA party activities when an argument between herself and mayoral committee member JP Smith with regards to her decision to shut-down a special investigating unit in the city became public. At the same time, de Lille faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement following an investigation by the Federal executive of the DA.
Part of the investigation is concerned with the ongoing Foreshore Freeway project and its tender management. City law firm Bowman Gilfillan, launched an independent inquiry into de Lille’s possible connections to alleged tender fraud in the Cape Town’s transport authority. Allegations suggest that the city’s transport commissioner used her position and connection with de Lille to abuse tender processes.
Called to resign as the leader of the DA in the Western Cape by various party members, de Lille would finally step down as provincial leader on Wednesday, 1 February 2018 and was succeeded by Bonginkosi Madikizela, nephew to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.  Following her resignation, the Cape Town Cty council, as well as the DA’s federal executive council, proposed a vote of no confidence in de Lille as Mayor, a motion which may result in the removal of Patricia de Lille as Mayor of Cape Town. On 15 February 2018 she survived a secret vote of no confidence in her as Cape Town’s mayor by one vote.
Later events stand in contrast to the public image de Lille has displayed throughout her political career. In 2004, de Lille was voted into the Top 100 Great South Africans, ranked 22nd and in the same year, voted one of South Africa’s favourite politicians in a Markinor Survey, coming second only to President at the time, Thabo Mbeki.
She is married to husband, Edwin de Lille and mother of two children, Carmen and Allistar.
• Dentlinger, L. 2017. De Lille has 10 days to answer to committee probing her conflict with JP Smith. Eyewitness News. [Online]. Available: https://ewn.co.za/2017/11/23/de-lille-has-10-days-to-answer-to-committee-probing-her-conflict-with-jp-smith [Accessed 14 February 2018].
• Dentlinger, L. 2018. Council orders investigation into claims of corruption cover-ups by De Lille. Eyewitness News. [Online]. Available: https://ewn.co.za/2018/01/05/council-orders-investigation-into-claims-of-corruption-cover-ups-by-de-lille [Accessed 14 February 2018].
• Diko, Y. 2017. De Lille resigned due to 'dictatorial DA.' News24. [Online] Available: https://www.news24.com/Columnists/GuestColumn/de-lilles-resigned-due-to-dictatorial-da-20170201 [Accessed 14 February 2018].
• Hyman, A., & Deklerk, A. 2017. DA’s De Lille suspended as Cape Town mayor amid allegations of corruption. Business Day Live. [Online] Available: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-12-15-da-suspends-cape-town-mayor-patricia-de-lille/ [Accessed 14 February 2018].
• Jooste, B. 2011. Dinner with De Lille. Independent Online. [Online] Available: https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/dinner-with-de-lille-1065356 [Accessed 14 February 2018].
• Relocation Africa Group. 2018. Who is Patricia de Lille? The Life of an Embattled Cape Town Mayor. [Online]. Available: https://www.relocationafrica.com/patricia-de-lille-life-embattled-cape-town-mayor/ [Accessed 14 February 2018].
• The Unfinished highways of the Foreshore Freeway Project – Image Available: https://crown.co.za/latest-news/housing-in-southern-africa-latest-news/2746-foreshore-freeway-precinct