De Lille Under Threat of Losing Place in Parliament
DISGRUNTLED Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) members are planning to push for the withdrawal of MP Patricia de Lille from Parliament on charges that she is on a "personal glory"-seeking mission rather than serving the party, sources say.
De Lille yesterday blamed "African National Congress agents provocateur working within the PAC" for orchestrating a campaign against her. Also under threat are the parliamentary jobs of PAC president Stanley Mogoba and his deputy, Motsoko Pheko, who are alleged to be "useless" representatives.
The group behind this intended purge of some in the leadership would like the matter to be discussed in the party's national executive committee meeting. "People are questioning their presence in Parliament because the PAC is getting nothing while they reap material gains and become media stars," said one source.
De Lille is one of the most high-profile opposition MPs. She has taken a highly visible stance on the forensic inquiry into government's R43bn arms package, supplying information to the Heath investigating unit and threatening to take President Thabo Mbeki to court if Heath is excluded from the inquiry.
She has also taken up the cudgels on behalf of juvenile prisoners. Reacting to this, a PAC member said: "While this is all good, it is of no use if it does not translate into political mileage for the PAC. "De Lille is very good, but her deeds do not help the PAC, only herself." De Lille was also criticised for failing to raise the PAC's Western Cape profile. "It is a shame that the PAC managed to secure only three seats in the Cape during the local government elections. This is De Lille's territory," another member said.
De Lille branded her detractors as "cowards" who should raise their "unhappiness" within party structures. "This is so predictable. Whoever is complaining is an agent provocateur serving the ruling party," she said. Mogoba dismissed allegations levelled against them. "We are of the view that Patricia is worth gold to the PAC. This is (a) poppycock story because she does not seek any glory," he said.
Mogoba accused the media of ignoring their activities in Parliament. "There is a campaign to put a blanket on us. And those of our members who are complaining have become victims of that campaign," he said. The party's general secretary, Thami ka Plaatjie, said no complaints had been received over the performance of the three representatives. "However, the workload in Parliament is too much for our representatives. It is impossible for them to attend every committee sitting because some of them take place at the same time," he said.
With acknowledgement to Tefo Mothibeli and Business Day.