The Democratic Alliance’s Federal Executive has announced it has terminated Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille’s party membership.
The decision means that De Lille is no longer the mayor of Cape Town, according to the Municipal Structures Act, and deputy mayor Ian Neilson will now become acting mayor.
The announcement was made at a press conference on Tuesday where Natasha Mazzone, deputy chair of the federal executive, confirmed the cessation of the mayor’s membership.
Federal executive chairperson James Selfe said De Lille’s membership was terminated after an interview De Lille did with Radio 702 radio host Eusebius McKaiser, where she said that she would resign once she had cleared her name.
“I will walk away” – These were the words @PatriciaDeLille said in the April 26 interview with @Eusebius on @Radio702. Since her membership has been rescinded, she will no longer be Cape Town mayor. https://t.co/OcS1kbWfOy
— Mail & Guardian (@mailandguardian) May 8, 2018
The federal legal commission made the decision to end De Lille’s membership following the interview on April 26 because, according to the party’s constitution, a member ceases to be a member when the member “publicly declares” their “intention to resign”.
The DA Constitution provides, in section 22.214.171.124 that:
“A member ceases to be a member when he or she
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) May 8, 2018
The party quotes the exchange between De Lille and McKaiser as follows:
“EM: If I hear you, you are saying, ideally I want to clear my name, Eusebius, that’s why I am going to court and if I win this battle, and when I win it because I know I’ve done nothing wrong, then the morning after I have won the court case then I will resign from the DA.
PdL: I will walk away. You summed it up correctly.”
The federal executive then adopted the decision made by the federal legal commission. The party confirmed that the reasons for the cessation of De Lille’s membership have nothing to do with the allegations of misconduct, maladministration and corruption that the party has made against the embattled mayor.
“The decision is based entirely on the breach of our constitution,” Mazzone said.
A new Cape governance
The DA’s decision to remove De Lille means that currently there is no government in Cape Town, with the exception of now acting mayor Neilson.
According to the Municipal Structures Act, if a mayor is removed from office, her entire mayoral committee and office is dissolved. Mazzone said that the DA would plan the “entire day” on Tuesday to re-establish governance in Cape Town.
Selfe reiterated Mazzone, saying: “Our priority is to restore stability and coherence to the city government so that we can continue to provide excellent and responsive services to the people of the City.”
De Lille is expected to pack up her office at the Civic Centre, the city headquarters, and leave.
The mayor had prepared to file court papers challenging the party’s recall clause in the event that it was used to remove her as mayor. But it remains it be seen if and how she will challenge this latest move.
Selfe acknowledged that the party is expecting a fight from the mayor or some fallout from her supporters.
“I would like to think this saga ends today, but I doubt it,” Selfe said.
De Lille is expected to host a press conference at 11am in response to the federal executive’s announcement.