- Helen Zille is reportedly offering advice and moral support to Patricia DeLille as she faces their party in a battle for membership and her position as mayor of the Mother City
- De Lille, who was kicked out of the party last week, applied to the courts for interim relief
- The Cape High Court on Friday reserved judgement on her application but meanwhile interdicted the IEC from filling the vacancy on the city council created by De Lille’s sacking
Patricia de Lille has found support from Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, who is reportedly offering moral support as well as the advice which only someone who has been in a similar position could offer.
Briefly.co.za learned from reports in the Weekend Argus that De Lille said the premier who is out of the country at present, had been in touch with the ousted mayor.
“We have been speaking. To use Helen’s own words, she is appalled at how I have been treated. She said to me that the party cannot have disciplinary processes and at the same time bring a motion of no confidence against me,” said De Lille.
Zille, who has herself been at odds with the DA leadership in the past, would be in a better position than most to understand the processes of the party she once lead.
The mayor was removed from office on Tuesday after a long struggle with both the party’s leadership and key members of the DA caucus in the City of Cape Town.
Unwilling to give in to pressure, De Lille last week took on the DA and others in an effort to return to her post applying to the courts for interim relief.
De Lille is now seeking a final determination by the same court which on Friday reserved judgment on an interim order to get her job back, on whether her dismissal from the party and her subsequent axing as mayor was unlawful or not.
Meanwhile, the court interdicted the Electoral Commission (IEC) of South Africa from filling the vacancy on the city council created by the sacking of De Lille.
The court split the application into two parts with Friday’s court proceedings dealing with “Part A” of De Lille’s application to return to her post for a fortnight until “Part B” of her application is dealt with.
Part B, which is due to be argued on May 25, De Lille is challenging the constitutional validity of the clause used to remove her from office.
De Lille’s advocate, Dali Mpofu, argued on Friday that she was still a DA member, Cape Town mayor and a councillor, calling the DA’s cessation of her membership was unlawful.
The party’s counsel, Sean Rosenberg, contested Mpofu’s assertion, saying the party has followed all due processes in good faith when the decision was taken to axe her, and said an interim interdict would be “inappropriate” as it effectively was seeking a reversal of time itself.
“She doesn’t seek to maintain the status quo, she seeks to reverse or rewind the status quo,” said Rosenberg. “Until such time as Part B of the (application) for relief is dealt with, the fact of the matter is the applicant is not a member of the DA, she is not a councillor and she is not the mayor.”
The city’s mayoral committee (mayco) was dissolved on Tuesday after DA Federal Executive chairperson James Selfe sent an email to the IEC informing it that De Lille was no longer a member of the party.
Mpofu argued that this had placed said the residents of Cape Town in a state of “limbo” with no functioning mayoral committee. The court was told that acting mayor, Ian Neilsen, had not formed a new mayoral committee as he was waiting on the outcome of the court proceedings.
The DA which used De Lille’s words on a radio show to Eusebius McKaiser as grounds for ending her party membership.
De Lille allegedly said she would resign once her name was cleared after several allegations of wrongdoing were made against her. The DA argued that this constitutes prima facie evidence of De Lille’s intention to resign from the party.
Mpofu argued that the party then triggered what he described as an “unlawful process” resulting in De Lille being ousted from the party, the council and the mayoral chair.
“Can the words used in the McKaiser interview justify her hurried removal on May 8?” asked Mpofu. Mpofu argued that the party should have put the motion before party council for a decision.
He also labelled an earlier vote of no confidence in De Lille on February 15 as a “farce” and “subterfuge”.
Mpofu argued that the party had failed to provide any proof of wrongdoing on the part of De Lille.
“No harm has been done to the DA. No harm has been done to the city. There isn’t even an allegation of wrongdoing, not even a finding of wrongdoing,” said Mpofu.
"Selfe did it by himself"
Selfe was then identified as having acted alone in his campaign against De Lille. “Selfe did it by himself,” said the advocate causing one moment of levity in the packed courtroom as the gallery laughed at the pun.
Rosenberg argued that the party had reacted to a “public declaration” by De Lille during the radio interview, and called De Lille’s motion for interim relief “radical”.
“De Lille will hold a DA seat, job and office and this is a person who indicated that she will leave the party and she has indicated that she will not submit herself to party disciplinary processes,” said Rosenberg.
The party’s counsel also differed with Mpofu on whether De Lille had been elected by the people of Cape Town. “Seats on the council are allocated based on the support the party enjoys in the city. De Lille is estranged from the party.”
This prompted Judge Monde Samela to ask how the situation would be further prejudice by two more weeks. “This situation has been like this for a while,” he said to which Rosenberg replied that De Lille’s alleged intention to resign represented a threat to the DA.
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