Judgment reserved in De Lille's urgent court bid

Patricia de Lille appears in court ahead of her urgent matter asking to temporarily suspend the DA's decision to cease her membership. (Paul Herman, News24)
Patricia de Lille appears in court ahead of her urgent matter asking to temporarily suspend the DA's decision to cease her membership. (Paul Herman, News24)

The Western Cape High Court has reserved judgment in Patricia de Lille's urgent application to temporarily suspend the DA's decision to strip her of her membership.

The outcome means Cape Town will have to wait to find out if De Lille will return as mayor temporarily.

Deputy mayor Ian Nielson will continue to serve as acting mayor in the interim, at least in the eyes of the city.

His counsel indicated in court on Friday that he will wait for the judgment before considering the appointment of a mayoral committee.

De lille told journalists after the adjournment that she still considers herself the mayor in law.

Counsel argued from 10:30 on Friday to show why the court should either grant or dismiss De Lille's request to interdict proceedings to fill her vacancy in the Cape Town City council.

READ: Mama Winnie sends De Lille a signal, as EFF invites her into the fold

De Lille wants to return to the "status quo", when she was still mayor, until the parties return to court in two weeks to debate the merits of her removal in full.

After six hours, Judges Patrick Gamble and Monde Samela said they would need more time before ruling on the matter, but made a few orders.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is officially interdicted from filling De Lille's vacancy until the matter is concluded in court.

The parties have also agreed to discuss the full merits of De Lille's removal in two weeks, on May 25, with timelines set for the filing of supplementary papers.

DA spokesperson Natasha Mazzone, at the end of the session, promised Capetonians that service delivery would continue in the interim.

As a party, they would respect the pending outcome of the court, and they will also be willing to wait for a period 90 days before filling the vacancies, with Cape Town serving under an acting mayor.

De Lille meanwhile told journalists that she was simply happy her arguments were finally put forward in court.

She too was concerned about service delivery, saying it was a team effort that required the establishment of a functioning mayoral committee.

Her team had argued that her reinstatement would return the mayoral committee too.

Advocate Dali Mpofu SC argued in the main that De Lille's removal was unlawful and incorrectly applied, therefore the court should grant the urgent relief requested until the merits can be fully debated later.

Opposing counsel for the DA, Sean Rosenberg SC, argued that De Lille's removal had already happened, and that an "urgent interdict" against such a removal would therefore not make sense, as the "horse has bolted".

Instead, the parties should come back in two weeks to debate the merits, while the City is able to function under its acting mayor, who has the power to appoint a new mayoral committee, until then.

Gamble and Samela did not give a date for the judgment.

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