Acting ANC Western Cape chairperson Khaya Magaxa believes Zille feels threatened by De Lille and her success in the municipal elections last year.
De Lille announced yesterday she would be quitting her job as provincial DA leader as she wants to focus fully on her job as Cape Town mayor.
In an open letter to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, De Lille said she would turn her attention to the roll-out of the Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (OTDP).
Two weeks ago, De Lille unveiled a new mayoral committee which she said will work hard to get rid of the remnants of apartheid planning.
She also believed the province was ready for “fresh leadership with fresh ideas”.
“These exciting changes will mean even more demands on me, in my capacity as the DA’s elected Executive Mayor. I am determined to give this new task my absolute dedication, and I have therefore chosen to step down as the Leader of the DA in the Western Cape,” she said.
De Lille’s resignation is effective from tomorrow, and she will be replaced by her deputy, Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela, until a new leader is elected at a provincial congress later this year, according to Maimane’s office.
But Magaxa, who described De Lille’s resignation as a “tipping point”, believes this is all just a smokescreen.
He said De Lille had been a good mayor and had increased the party’s numbers in the metro and the province, which led to her re-election.
Magaxa said De Lille is a coloured in a 50 percent majority province and that she could reach “unimaginable heights” in her political career, but now her vlerkies were being cut, “just like Zille did with Lindiwe Mazibuko”.
He said Zille wanted to remain the “alpha female” because she wanted to prove to her male nay-sayers that she was just as capable as them to lead.
But she changed her mind after a backlash over her selection of an all-male cabinet in 2009.
He says “ambitionless” Mazibuko was Zille’s first project, but it backfired.
“Lindiwe rose to prominence, confident, articulate, black, excellent, and Zille suddenly realised that Lindiwe was capable of reaching the kinds of heights only #BlackWomanExcellency could afford her in a black majority country and after a while, Zille would just be a has-been, running a province nobody really cared about,” Magaxa said.
He said the same was happening now to De Lille.
“The ultimate fear of the DA establishment, however, is that the Western Cape is the DA’s stronghold and base. Ideally it must remain in white hands, otherwise success of coloureds will mean there will never be another white leader in the heart of the DA,” he said.