/ 27 June 2018

DA to seek another motion of no confidence in De Lille after court loss

(David Harrison/M&G)
(David Harrison/M&G)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will seek to move for another motion of no confidence in Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, after the Western Cape High Court ruled in her favour in her case against the party.

READ MORE: She’s back: De Lille triumphs over DA

A full Bench of the High Court found on Wednesday that the party’s “determination” that De Lille ceased to be a party member following comments she made on a radio station in April, was unlawful.

Judge Andre Le Grange cited various procedural irregularities in De Lille’s removal, specifically the setting up of the DA’s federal legal commission (FLC) panel in De Lille’s case, as evidence of non-compliance.

In a statement following the judgment, the DA said there were still many unanswered questions relating to De Lille’s conduct, and that the party will now be looking to table another motion of no confidence in her leadership in council.

“The DA understands how confusing this time has been for the people of Cape Town,” deputy federal council chairperson Natasha Mazzone said.

“No political party enjoys having a very public and messy battle with one of its mayors. But we had no choice but to protect the highest standard of leadership expected from our executive office holders.”

Unlike their opponents, they were committed to rooting out corruption and maladministration where they govern, and would continue to hold its public representatives to the highest standard, she said.

“As such, we will seek [to] move a motion of no confidence against Patricia De Lille.

“We will never betray our election promise to the people of Cape Town. We committed to running a government that is clean, efficient and delivers for all. Not even Patricia de Lille is above that commitment.”

De Lille survived a similar motion of no confidence in the council by one vote in February, after around 40 DA councillors voted with the opposition, who wanted the mayor to account for the allegations before council.

Appeal on the cards

Mazzone told journalists outside court that the party noted the decision, and will study the ruling in preparation of launching a possible appeal.

“We don’t think the judgment was in the best interests of the people of the City of Cape Town,” Mazzone said.

“The judgment went very much on the technicalities surrounding our FLC and our procedures. None of the substantive issues have been touched on, and there are still many questions that need to be answered.”

Mazzone cited the various allegations levelled against De Lille as some of those questions, including the independent council report that showed prima facie evidence of maladministration and gross misconduct in the city.

She also said there was still the issue of a text message allegedly sent to a councillor over a preferred candidate for position of city manager in 2016.

The party also took issue with the city losing its clean audit status in the most recent audit opinion by the Auditor General’s office.

These charges however, were not part of the court case in question.

Nonetheless, Mazzone hinted that it would be difficult for De Lille to return to a council and that the DA caucus in the main has no confidence in her.

Relationship ‘broken down

“The fact of the matter is Patricia de Lille will now go back and attempt to lead a caucus where only 25% of the caucus have any kind of trust in her.

“The fact is that the relationship between the DA and Patricia de Lille was broken down to such an extent that we must never forget, Patricia de Lille had the EFF’s national chairperson as her counsel.”

Mazzone wanted to assure the people of the city that while it’s been a confusing time, “all contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that the city council will continue to operate”.

“City councillors will continue to operate, and this will remain one of the best run cities in the country.”

De Lille would return to her statutory position as mayor.

However, the council stripped De Lille of all her executive powers on May 31, with the exception of appointing a mayoral committee (Mayco), calling mayco meetings, and ceremonial duties.

On Thursday, the court will hear another aspect of De Lille’s court battles with the party: the review of the internal report into her conduct, compiled by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen. — News24