Ousted Patricia de Lille to take battle to court
Deputy mayor Ian Neilson says he is in full control, countering De Lille's assertion that she remains mayor until her pending court case is decided
Ousted Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille is not going down without a fight and will approach the courts on Friday to challenge the DA’s decision to strip her of her party membership.
De Lille said she would file papers in the High Court in Cape Town at 10am on Friday, to challenge the constitutionality of the DA clause on “cessation”. She said the clause was unfairly applied to remove her from the party.
She also wants to interdict city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo from declaring a vacancy in the office of the mayor.
But Ian Neilson, the deputy mayor who has been put in charge after her ouster, says he is in "full control".
“The administration of the city is secure and we remain committed to the work we do to deliver services across the city‚” Neilson said at a media briefing hours after De Lille’s DA membership was rescinded.
On Tuesday, the DA announced that De Lille’s party membership had automatically been terminated following her pronouncements during a radio interview that she would leave the party after she clears her name.
James Selfe, the party’s federal council chairman, said that De Lille had on two separate occasions during a radio interview on 702 stated that she intended to resign from the party as soon as she had “cleared her name”.
Selfe said the DA constitution provides that a party member ceases to be a member when he or she publicly declares his or intention to resign or publicly resigns.
The federal legal commission found that De Lille intended to resign from the DA and therefore her membership ceased on the day of the April interview on Radio 702. Selfe said the fact that De Lille had ceased to be a DA member rendered other processes moot, including the consideration of the recall clause and her disciplinary hearing.
Therefore, De Lille could no longer continue serving as mayor. Her deputy, Ian Neilson, is expected to take over as interim mayor.
Patricia de Lille said she is fighting back against the Democratic Alliance federal executive’s decision to boot her out of the DA as well as out of her position as mayor of Cape Town.
“I am challenging this automatic cessation clause … I believe it’s unconstitutional and the DA is taking shortcuts to try and remove me,” said De Lille.
“I knew from the beginning that due process would not be followed because there was predetermined outcome to get rid of me,” she said.
De Lille said the court challenge would also seek to interdict the city manager from declaring a vacancy.
Her court application cites the IEC, the city manager and the DA as respondents. She said in her view she remained mayor pending the conclusion of the court processes.
“It’s premature [to dissolve the mayoral committee] because it’s subject to the court ruling,” a defiant De Lille said.
“I am going back to my office this afternoon … I am going to have a meeting with the deputy mayor and the city manager,” she said.
But Neilson said the mayoral committee appointed by De Lille had been dissolved with immediate effect.
“As it stands‚ at this moment‚ only the speaker [Dirk Smit] and I are political authorities in the City of Cape Town‚” he said.
“I will now apply my mind in the coming days to appointing an interim mayoral committee that will serve until council elects a new executive mayor.”
Neilson said as acting mayor he held the full authority of the mayoral seat.
“Having served as the executive deputy mayor for the past nine years‚ having been a city councillor for 22 years and having been involved in the leadership of numerous administrations‚ I am fully apprised of the needs of the city and those we serve‚” he said.
Mbandazayo had already informed the IEC about the vacancy on the council. “We await due process to unfold and we will communicate further in due course‚” he said.
De Lille said that at the 2pm with Neilson and Mbandazayo she would inform them about her pending application for an urgent interdict.
Her removal as a mayor was a victory for the conservatives in the DA, she said.