De Lille still calls herself 'the mayor' in court challenge

2018-05-08 18:07
Patricia de Lille (Mayor of Cape Town) speaks during the City of Cape Town’s Rondebosch East land claim handover ceremony. (Brenton Geach, Gallo Images, file)

Patricia de Lille (Mayor of Cape Town) speaks during the City of Cape Town’s Rondebosch East land claim handover ceremony. (Brenton Geach, Gallo Images, file)

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The gloves are off in the battle between Patricia De Lille and the DA, with the politician still calling herself "the mayor" of Cape Town in court papers filed to challenge her removal from the party and the City's top position on Tuesday.

In her papers, De Lille cites the DA as the first respondent, City manager as the second, the City of Cape Town as the third and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as the fourth.

"I am the executive mayor of the third respondent," states De Lille, even though the DA kicked her out of the party on Tuesday, citing clause of its constitution. 

This clause states that, if a member publicly declares his or her intention to resign, then the person's membership ceases immediately.

DA federal council chairperson James Selfe and his deputy Natasha Mazzone said at a briefing earlier on Tuesday, that De Lille made the public declaration during an interview with Radio 702 host Eusebius McKaiser on April 26.

After the DA's announcement, Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson swiftly called a press briefing to say that, because the DA had "ceased" De Lille's party membership, she had lost her seat as a councillor and was no longer the mayor of Cape Town.

Neilson said he then became the acting mayor, in terms of the law.

He was flanked by recently appointed City manager Lungelo Mbandazayo and council Speaker Dirk Smit, who said they had acted in accordance with the law.

The IEC had also been informed there was a vacancy on the council and De Lille was expected to clear her desk and hand back City property.

However, while this was happening, De Lille's lawyers were busy serving and filing court papers.

In her papers, stamped May 8, 2018, De Lille indicates a two-pronged approach to her court challenge over the decision to remove her.

Part A is an application for condonation for non-compliance of the court rules regarding time periods and service, so that the matter will be treated as urgent.

This is expected to be at 10:00 on Friday.

De Lille asks the court for that, pending the hearing of Part B of her application in which is seeking that: 

- the DA federal executive's notice to her that she ceased to be a member of the party be suspended and that her position as councillor and mayor of Cape Town is not affected;

- the City manager be "interdicted and restrained" from telling the IEC's Chief Electoral Officer, in terms of item 18(b) of Schedule 1 to the Local Government  Municipal Structures Act, that she has ceased to be a member of the DA;

- the IEC's Chief Electoral Officer is interdicted from filling a vacancy in respect of her position as a councillor in terms of clause 18(1)(a) of the "Structures Act".

She asks that Part B be heard on the semi-urgent roll on a date determined by the Judge President, currently Judge John Hlophe, and which is agreed to by all parties.

Part B includes De Lille's bid to have the DA's clause of its federal constitution read with part C of the DA's federal legal commission rules, declared invalid.

Her legal team intends to argue that they are procedurally unfair, contrary to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) or the common law rules of natural justice and public policy, and a violation of Section 16 of the Constitution, which deals with the right to freedom of expression.

In the meantime, to prepare for her challenge to the issues, De Lille's legal team has requested information such as all records of meetings relating to the DA's decision.

De Lille, a former Pan Africanist Congress MP, left the party to go it alone as the Independent Democrats (ID). The ID collapsed into the DA and she became mayor of Cape Town in 2011.

She was returned to the position following the 2016 local government elections.

In February, advocate Dali Mpofu SC, who is also the chairperson of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, argued her case for a secret ballot in a planned motion of no confidence in her by the DA.

She survived that vote in February.

Read more on:    da  |  iec  |  patricia de lille

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