CAPE TOWN, May 11 – Former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was no longer a member of the political party who deployed her to her office and was therefore not entitled to an interim order returning her to her post, the high court in Cape Town heard on Friday.
Sean Rosenberg, SC, for the Democratic Alliance (DA), said if De Lille had still been a member of the party, a councillor, and mayor, she could have argued on an urgent basis why she should not be removed, but in the current circumstances, an interim interdict was “inappropriate”.
“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.”
Earlier, Dali Mpofu, SC, for De Lille argued that they considered the process leading up to the decision to axe De Lille as procedurally unfair and inconsistent with the South African Constitution.
Rosenberg also tried to poke holes in Mpofu’s argument that the decision was based on a radio interview in which De Lille told a talk show host that she would resign from the DA once her name is cleared after several allegations of wrongdoing were made against her.
Mpofu quoted DA Federal Executive chairman James Selfe to make his point.
“He [Selfe] says when she made her statement to Mr McKaizer she clearly did not realise it would lead to her losing her membership of the DA. If she did, she may not have made it,” said Mpofu.
“On what basis honestly can this court say in light of what Mr Selfe has said it was ever be shown that there was an existence of the intention to resign if we accept intention to resign was the trigger of whole thing that has brought us here.”
Rosenberg argued that her declaration that she intended to resign was enough for a clause in the DA Constitution to kick in and for her to be removed as a result of this.
“We are not dealing with the subjective state of mind of the declarant [De Lille] in question. We are dealing with objectively a declaration…a statement made or published which may be construed as amounting to an intention to resign.”
De Lille was removed from office on Tuesday after a long-standing battle with the party and after a fractious relationship between her and members of the DA caucus in the City of Cape Town.
Friday dealt with “Part A” of De Lille’s application to return to her post for two weeks until “part B” of her application is to be dealt with. During part B, to be argued on May 25, De Lille is challenging the constitutional validity of the clause used to remove her from office.