De Lille survives motion of no confidence

2018-02-15 12:52
City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, City Press, file)

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Cape Town - City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille survived a motion of no confidence against her on Thursday.

A total of 110 councillors voted NO, with 109 voting YES and three choosing to abstain. 

There are 231 members of council, 154 of them belong to the DA and 77 belong to the opposition.

De Lille survived the motion even though she was enraged that it was not held by secret ballot.

This was after Speaker Dirk Smit announced earlier that an open ballot using the electronic voting system would be suitable for accountability so that the electorate can see what their representatives are doing.

His assessment was that the secret ballot was not necessary.

This shocked De Lille, who secured a judgment on Wednesday in the Western Cape High Court following an urgent application that councillors be allowed to vote with their conscience, and not be forced to vote according to the party line - which was to remove her in the motion.

However, in spite of her objections to the open vote, De Lille narrowly survived as Mayor of Cape Town.

She had also wanted the court to rule that the voting be done by secret ballot so that DA councillors who go against the party line and vote to keep her on, not worry about reprisals by the party's Federal Executive which De Lille has referred to as the "backroom boys" who want her out.

On Wednesday Judge Robert Henney ruled that he would not tell the Speaker to hold the secret ballot because that would be a violation of the separation of powers, but said the Speaker did have the discretion to do so, given the current absence of a direct rule on it.

He said the DA should also have known better, given its own support of the secret ballot and a free vote in the Motion of No Confidence against former president Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly (NA) last year.

An upbeat De Lille had hoped on Wednesday the Speaker would do the same as NA Speaker Baleka Mbete did in the Zuma matter.

With regard to the Zuma motion, the United Democratic Movement got the Constitutional Court to rule that Mbete had the discretion to decide whether to hold that MONC by secret ballot - which she did.

Commenting after the ruling on Wednesday, De Lille said: "I've created the space where they don't have to fear that there will be reprisals against them."

She said she was never against the motion itself, but just wanted councillors to vote without worrying about whether they will get in trouble with the DA's leadership.

But on Thursday De Lille said the DA had changed its tune and had written to the Speaker to say there is no need for secrecy.

"And the Speaker now also decided that the vote must be determined by an open ballot," said De Lille.

One of the Speaker's justifications was a "powerful Constitutional demand" for openness.

"...Instead of using his discretion, instead of using the judge Henney's judgment yesterday in the Constitutional Court (sic) ... he followed instructions," said De Lille.

Last month, the federal executive authorised its caucus to table a motion of no confidence against De Lille in the council, following allegations of maladministration against her.

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille

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