Patricia de Lille has fought injustice for the past 34 years through her involvement in politics. She is known for her role as a trade unionist in the struggle for equality and as the initial whistle-blower on the infamous Arms Deal in 1999. In 1988 Ms de Lille was elected Vice-President of the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU) and served as the Regional Secretary of the Chemical Workers Union, the first woman to do so.
After leading the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) delegation to the constitutional negotiations in Kempton Park, she became a Member of Parliament in 1994 and went on to chair the Parliamentary Committee on Transport until 1999. On 26 March 2003 she formed the Independent Democrats (ID), which won national, provincial and local government seats in the 2004 elections, becoming the first woman in a democratic South Africa to do so.
Following this success, Ms de Lille went on to serve on the Judicial Services Commission and has sat on numerous Parliamentary Portfolio Committees such as Communication, Rural Development and Ethics. She is also a member of the International Parliamentarians against Corruption organisation.
Ms de Lille has been given an HIV/Aids Activist award from a Canadian organisation and has sponsored an HIV-positive child, also named Patricia, for 13 years. She has been named one of the Top Five Women in Government and Government Agencies and won the Rapport City Press Woman of the Year Award in 2006. She is a former Chancellor of the Durban Institute of Technology, an Honorary Colonel in the SANDF and currently serves on the boards of the African Monitor and the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. She recently retired from the board of the Helen Suzman Foundation.
Before her election as Mayor of Cape Town, she was the Western Cape Minister of Social Development following the merger of the Independent Democrats and the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Once described by Nelson Mandela as "a strong, principled woman" and his "favourite opposition politician," she is married with two children, and enjoys playing golf, listening to music and reading in her spare time.