De Lille to challenge DA removal in court

On Tuesday, the DA’s federal executive announced that De Lille’s party membership had been terminated following a finding made against her by the party’s federal legal commission. (David Harrison/M&G)

On Tuesday, the DA’s federal executive announced that De Lille’s party membership had been terminated following a finding made against her by the party’s federal legal commission. (David Harrison/M&G)

Former Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille will file court papers on Friday to challenge her removal from the Democratic Alliance.

“I will show on Friday, this so-called automatic succession clause is undemocratic and unconstitutional.”

De Lille announced she would be challenging the constitutionality of the cessation of her membership in court papers which she signed on Tuesday morning . Her announcement comes mere hours after the Democratic Alliance informed her on Tuesday morning that she was being removed from the party, and her position as mayor would therefore cease.

“Now once again the DA’s desperation has led to them taking another shortcut to get rid of me,” De Lille said in a press briefing.

“I always maintained that I’m fighting for my right for natural justice and to clear my name and I will never give up,” she said.

De Lille plans to ask the court to grant an interdict order to stop the City of Cape Town manager and the Independent Electoral Commission from declaring a vacancy in her post. 

On Tuesday, the DA’s federal executive announced that De Lille’s party membership had been terminated following a finding made against her by the party’s federal legal commission (FLC).

The FLC decided this based on an interview she gave on April 26, where she told Radio 702 host Eusebius McKaiser that she was willing to “walk away” once her name had been cleared.

READ MORE: The fine print on De Lille’s sacking

The federal executive admitted during a press briefing on Tuesday that De Lille was sacked because of statements she made in the interview which were were in breach of its constitution.
The party says her axing is not related to any allegations of corruption or maladministration.

De Lille’s termination means she can longer serve as the mayor of Cape Town. Deputy mayor Ian Neilson has been appointed acting mayor, in accordance with the Municipal Structures Act.

Now that De Lille’s entire office has been dissolved as per the Act, the DA will have to establish a new mayoral committee to govern the City of Cape Town.

Over recent months, De Lille has fought against the DA, accusing senior leaders of bias and attempting to smear her name. She is in the process of applying to the courts to force the DA to submit evidence it says it has against her to the court record. The reason behind her defiance, she has said, is to clear her name.

READ MORE: De Lille applies for the full ‘DA spy tapes’ record

After a recent internal motion of no confidence where around 70% of the DA Cape Town caucus voted for her removal, De Lille tweeted a video of herself in boxing gloves, saying the only round that mattered in her battle with her former party was the knock-out round.

Her legal team, anticipating her removal, had initially drafted court papers to challenge the constitutionality of the DA’s recently adopted “recall clause”.

The clause was expected to be invoked to remove De Lille as Cape Town mayor, but instead the party ceased her membership.

On her future, De Lille said her priority remains to clear her name.

READ MORE: DA & De Lille: Done and dusted

“People are entitled to speculate but I have made it very clear I will design my future once I have cleared my name,” she said.

De Lille also thanked her supporters who have stood by her during “this relentless onslaught by these bullies.”

Watch De Lille’s response below:

This story will be updated as more details emerge.

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra'eesa Pather

Ra’eesa Pather is a general news journalist with the Mail & Guardian’s online team. She cut her teeth at The Daily Vox in Cape Town before moving to Johannesburg and joining the M&G. She's written about memory, race and gender in columns and features, and has dabbled in photography. Read more from Ra'eesa Pather

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