The City of Cape Town’s acting mayor Ian Neilson will not appoint a mayoral committee until judgment is handed down in Patricia De Lille’s court battle to remain a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA).
Luthando Tyhalibongo, media manager at the City of Cape Town, confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that Neilson had delayed his appointment of a mayoral committee after announcing at the weekend that the mayco would be established on Monday afternoon.
“Yes, that is true,” Tyhalibongo said.
The DA announced the termination of De Lille’s membership last week. In a bid to retain her position until she can clear her name of corruption allegations, De Lille launched a court application to interdict the party from removing her. Although De Lille has argued in court papers that she is still the mayor of Cape Town, Neilson has been appointed acting mayor and her mayoral committee has been dissolved.
The matter was heard in court on Friday, but judgement was reserved. If De Lille succeeds in her application, she will return to the mayor’s office and her mayoral committee will be reinstated. But if she loses, Neilson will continue as acting mayor and his mayoral committee will be in charge.
On Sunday, Neilson released a statement saying he would announce his new mayco after 3pm on Monday if judgment in the matter had still not been handed down.
“I will not be able to wait any longer than that because without a Mayco from early in the coming week the governance of the city will be compromised,” he said. “Amongst other things, a Mayco is required to give political guidance to the budget process, which is far advanced, for the forthcoming municipal financial year.”
Judges Patrick Gamble and Monde Samela will make their judgement on Tuesday. The news that the judgement will be heard tomorrow, led Neilson to delay making his appointment.
In court on Friday, the city’s lawyer Advocate Andrew Breitenbach, posed a question to the judges on behalf of Neilson: Could they indicate when they would be handing down judgement?
Breitenbach said that Neilson was watching case closely to determine if he should appoint a new mayco. The Municipal Structures Act gives Neilson — as acting mayor — powers to appoint a mayco, but the court action may pose disruptions if his mayoral committee is dissolved because of the judgement to be handed down.
“The point is he held off doing so because of this case, but the City cannot function without a mayoral committee,” Breitenbach said in court.
The City of Cape Town has currently been left without a mayoral committee for the past 8 days. Judges Gamble and Samela are expected to hand down judgement at lunchtime on Tuesday.