DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says it’s a blessing in disguise that former Cape Town Mayor and Good Leader Patricia De Lille is in the national executive instead of sitting on the opposition benches.

President Cryil Ramaphosa appointed De Lille as the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Development when he announced his cabinet on May 29.

It is under her portfolio where a new land expropriation bill will be re-drafted and tabled to repeal the 1975 Expropriation Act, a move the DA is vehemently opposed to.

Steenhuisen says the official opposition will use this opportunity to hold De Lille to account.

“This is the best case scenario for us. I think it would have been very difficult for the DA if she had been put as the Chair of Scopa or if she had started to sit at the opposition benches. Here as it is now, she is the Minister of Public Works – the Minister who is now going to have to pilot the Expropriation Bill through Parliament. This is a huge opportunity for the DA and we are going to make sure that we use it to our full extent,” he says.

De Lille and her former party have been at loggerheads since she was accused of misconduct in late 2017.

They have since been slugging it out in court battles, with judgment being reserved in their latest spat heard in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. The DA had taken on review an Electoral Commission’s ruling ordering the party to apologise to De Lille for claiming it fired her as mayor.