CAPE TOWN, May 15 – Western Cape High Court Judge Pat Gamble said on Tuesday that there needs to be stability in the City of Cape Town’s leadership while the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Patricia De Lille resolve their legal disputes.
He suspended the cessation of her DA membership, hence she will return to her position as mayor of Cape Town pending a reviewing court’s ruling on part B of her application.
On Friday, the Western Cape High Court dealt with “Part A” of De Lille’s application to return to her post for two weeks until “Part B” of her application is dealt with. Part B, to be argued on May 25, is challenging the Constitutional validity of the clause used to remove her from office.
Gamble said the court was concerned about the impact the litigation was having on the people of Cape Town and said that the water crisis, along with persistent land invasion protests, needed decisive leadership in order to be managed properly.
He said if she is successful before the reviewing court, she may be reinstated as mayor and could appoint her own mayoral committee.
“This would be musical chairs,” the judge noted.
“We take note of the fact that De Lille and the DA are not shy to litigate”, he added and said there may be appeals and further legal action.
“As undesirable as it may be in light of the bruising allegations and counter allegations which have been made in these proceedings, preservation of the status quo as it existed immediately before Ms. De Lille was informed of the decision of FedEx last Tuesday morning is in our view the only reasonable alternative in the prevailing circumstances”.
Natasha Mazzone, the deputy chairwoman of the DA’s federal council, said the court made it clear that it was in the interest of the city of Cape Town that the “status quo remains” until the main application is heard on May 25.
Mazzone said the court had agreed with the DA that De Lille had in fact tendered her resignation from the party when she told Radio 702 last month that she intended to quit the DA as soon as she had cleared her name in a bruising, highly public political fight with the party’s leadership.
After the ruling, the feisty De Lille thanked her supporters and said this is not about her but about the people of Cape Town.
De Lille faces charges of misconduct after a political inquiry headed by the party’s chief whip in Parliament John Steenhuisen found that the city council is hamstrung by infighting under her leadership.