Cape Town mayor quits after party withdraws charges

The Mayor of South Africa’s Cape Town Patricia de Lille resigned from her position on Sunday, ending a bitter dispute within South Africa’s main opposition party that has tainted its image ahead of elections next year.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) appointed de Lille as its candidate for the 2011 local government elections which she won, but later accused her of turning a blind eye to corruption.

The spat has tarnished the DA’s reputation in South Africa ahead of the elections slated for 2019, when it aims to challenge the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

“Now that the DA have withdrawn the charges against me and I have cleared my name, I have decided to step aside,” de Lille said in a televised news conference.

The resignation will take effect on 31 October.

The DA, which promotes itself as an alternative to the ANC, elected its first black leader three years ago to widen its appeal among voters, and improved its national credentials by winning control of three major cities in 2016.

However it now faces a resurgent ruling party under new President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has vowed to root out corruption and boost economic growth since the ANC named him to replace scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma.