Patricia de Lille has been reinstated temporarily as the Cape Town mayor pending internal disciplinary processes by the DA against her.
Delivering judgment in the Cape Town high court, Judge Patrick Gamble has found that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille should not have had her membership of the DA terminated.
Her expulsion from the DA has therefore been reversed, and she is therefore temporarily still Cape Town’s executive mayor.
Gamble said the preservation of the status quo before the DA federal executive determination was the only available remedy.
The next part of the legal saga happens on 25 May.She still faces a motion of no confidence in council.
The party’s federal chairperson said last week that the DA constitution provided, in section 188.8.131.52, that: “A member ceases to be a member when he or she publicly declares his or her intention to resign and/or publicly declares his or her resignation from the Party.”
The DA announced last week that De Lille’s membership has been terminated because, during a radio interview last month with Eusebius McKaiser on 702, she had indicated that she intended to resign from the party after clearing her name.
The judge summed up De Lille’s argument for bringing the court challenge by saying, among other things, that she claims she had never said she intended to resign from the DA, only as Cape Town’s mayor. She pointed out that other DA members had made similar statements that were not acted on in a similar way. She raised other technical and constitutional points.
The DA, however, pointed out that De Lille’s exact quote on McKaiser’s show had expressed that she intended to quit the DA, and not only as Cape Town’s mayor. They also challenged each of her other points, including that she had suffered any irreparable harm, which the court accepted.
On the matter of an interdict or other halt to the acting mayor’s ability to change the city’s mayoral committee, the DA submitted that it would not be practical or realistic to subject the running of the city to what could turn out to be a protracted legal battle and process.
The judge said that even though her membership was guaranteed by his ruling, she would still need to subject herself to internal party discipline and the expectations of being the executive mayor would still be upon her. He made no immediate ruling on costs.
Speaking outside court, De Lille said she was tired, but that it was important to return to good governance and end the fight for the good of the people of Cape Town. She said the fight was not about her, but for the residents.