'This is not the end' - De Lille after court victory

2018-06-27 14:52
Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille after the Western Cape High Court rules in her favour in her case against the DA. (Paul Herman, News24)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille after the Western Cape High Court rules in her favour in her case against the DA. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says her court victory against the Democratic Alliance on Wednesday "is not the end".

De Lille is expected to be back in court on Thursday for the continuation of the review of internal charges against her.

A full Bench of the Western Cape High Court found on Wednesday that the party's "determination" that De Lille ceased to be a party member, following comments she made on radio in April, were unlawful.

Judge André 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.

READ: De Lille victorious in bid to overturn DA axing

De Lille's team cheered after the ruling was delivered.

"This victory today also sends out a strong message that we have rights in this country and we have rights in our Constitution. No one is above the law and no one is above the Constitution of the country," De Lille told journalists immediately after the ruling.

"As all political parties, we must learn from this lesson to treat our members with respect."

De Lille said she would be back in court again on Thursday for the continuation of the review of the internal party report into her conduct, compiled by DA chief whip John Steenhuisen.

She has been asking for the party to submit the evidence used to charge her internally, so that the allegations made against her in public can be tested, but the party has thus far "refused".

"So tomorrow, the court must again rule and force them to give us the evidence. What kind of justice is that?"

She claimed that many in the party "didn't understand the word justice" but said "thank God for the independence of the judiciary that would protect the rights of all South Africans".

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"This is not the end. I will continue to fight for fairness and justice for all the people of South Africa."

DA must start from scratch

De Lille said the DA would now need to start from scratch if it continued to remove her.

In her interpretation, the judges found that the DA's federal legal commission process was flawed, she said.

"The whole federal legal commission of the DA has been declared invalid. Together with that, all the decisions they have taken, including past disciplinary matters, they have to start from the beginning.

"They have to re-elect the FLC. They have to reappoint new members to the federal legal commission.

"And I still insist that, after they have done this, that if they correct their mistakes, I am still prepared to subject myself to an open disciplinary hearing in front of the public and in front of the media."

Meanwhile, the DA is planning another motion of no confidence in De Lille.

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

It is also studying the judgment for a possible appeal.

Judgment 'not in the best interests of Cape Town'

DA deputy federal council chairperson Natasha Mazzone told journalists outside court that the party felt the substantive issues were not dealt with.

"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."

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

Mazzone cited 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.

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

Relationship 'broken down'

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

"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," she said.

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".

De Lille is to return to her statutory position as mayor.

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

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  courts
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