Patricia De Lille
Patricia de Lille has been fighting injustice for the past 45 years starting as a trade unionist in the 1970s where she fought tirelessly for equality and workers’ rights.
In 1988, she was elected as National Vice-President of The National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), the highest position for a woman in the trade union movement at that time.
In 1990, De Lille led a delegation in the constitutional negotiations that preceded South Africa's first democratic election in 1994 and was part of the team which drafted South Africa’s Constitution.
She has served in all three spheres of government and served on various portfolio committees during her first 15 years in Parliament.
South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela described her as a “strong, principled woman and his favourite opposition politician”.
Known for her strong stance against corruption, De Lille was the whistleblower of the Arms Deal scandal.
After nearly a decade as a Member of Parliament, De Lille set a new goal to become the first woman in South Africa to form a political party. She formed the Independent Democrats and won seats on local, provincial and national level.
In 2011, she became the Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town and in 2016 became the first Mayor of the city to serve for a second consecutive term when she was re-elected in 2016 with a two-thirds majority.
As the Mayor, she pioneered and championed a range of redress and spatial planning projects and systems to speed up and enhance service delivery.
Under her leadership, Cape Town earned the reputation of being the best run metro in South Africa.
During her tenure, Cape Town received close to 90 international awards including being named as the winner of the 2015 C40 Cities Award for the city’s Water Conservation and Demand Management Programme (WCWDM). Cape Town was also awarded the World Design Capital for 2014.
Accountability and clean governance are the trademarks her career and while Mayor, the City of Cape Town achieved consecutive clean audits and holding the highest possible credit rating for a local government.
As the Mayor, De Lille championed redress and restitution by returning land to people dispossessed under the apartheid regime and renaming streets after Struggle heroes including Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Helen Suzman, Jakes Gerwel, Philip Kgosana and many others.
Under her leadership, Cape Town earned a global reputation as one of the world’s leading cities tackling climate change as the city amplified its work in adaption and mitigation with small-scale-embedded generation programme and the solar water heater accreditation programme.
Cape Town emerged as a world leader in water conservation and demand management when the city reduced its water consumption by 55% in two years without resorting to intermittent supplies.
De Lille served on various international city bodies including as a member of the C40, a board member of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and as the Chairperson of the Global Parliament of Mayors.
At the end of her tenure as Mayor, her love for her country and serving people remained strong and in December 2018, De Lille started a new political movement called GOOD. Five months later, the party contested the May 2019 general elections.
The seasoned politician, she is affectionately known as the “Aunty of the Nation” or “Aunty Pat” and returned as a Member of Parliament in 2019 as GOOD leader.
In May 2019, she was appointed as the National Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
De Lille plans to use her position as a Minister to drive spatial and environmental justice and equality, to clamp down on corruption and ensure that public land and public buildings is used for public good.
De Lille is the author of two books and is finalising her third book.