De Lille back in court to hear her fate

(David Harrison/M&G)

(David Harrison/M&G)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille will on Wednesday hear her fate in her application to have the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) decision to cancel her membership set aside.

The Western Cape High Court will deliver judgment in De Lille’s case at 09:30, after both parties argued their cases over two days earlier this month.

The embattled mayor took the DA to court after the party’s leaders “determined” that she breached one of its constitutional clauses during a radio interview in April where she said she would “walk away” upon clearing her name of the various allegations levelled against her.

De Lille had asked a full bench to rule on whether the cancellation of her membership for those comments, and therefore her removal from the Cape Town city council as mayor, was unconstitutional and procedurally flawed.

Her counsel, Dali Mpofu, SC, argued before the courts earlier this month that her removal was in bad faith, and was ultimately not about her membership, but her continuing to be mayor.

Her comments on radio were in any case “conditional”, and many other party members had made similar comments in the past, he contended.

The DA’s counsel, Sean Rosenberg, SC, countered by saying De Lille was very aware of the party’s various clauses, and set in motion the termination of her membership herself by “publicly declaring an intention to resign”.

The so-called “cessation clause” was in the party’s constitution to protect it from “disloyal” members, and it was within the court’s ambit to decide whether De Lille’s words represented an express intention to quit, he contended.

‘Feeling positive’

De Lille told News24 on Tuesday that she was feeling “positive” ahead of the court ruling. She had great respect for the independence of the judiciary, and was quietly confident that her legal team had put forward a strong argument in her favour.

She was also still prepared to take her case to the country’s higher courts if necessary, she repeated. She would also be returning to court on Thursday for a different aspect of her case: her ongoing review of an internal party report into her conduct.

DA deputy federal council chairperson Natasha Mazzone told News24 on Tuesday that the party would wait for the court judgment before commenting, as it did not think it proper to pre-empt the judges’ decision.

Mazzone assured Capetonians that service delivery remained a top priority and that the City remained committed to creating and encouraging a flourishing environment in the metro.

De Lille returned to her position temporarily on May 15 after the court granted her interim relief pending the full review of the DA’s decision. The court’s ruling will determine whether she will return permanently or not.

The breakdown in De Lille’s relationship with the DA has stretched over a long and arduous 18 months. — News24

READ MORE: Timeline: The events leading up to De Lille’s ousting

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