On Tuesday afternoon, Judges Patrick Gamble and Monde Samela ruled in the case between Patricia de Lille and the Democratic Alliance. The Court reinstated her membership of the party, meaning she was also reinstated as the mayor of the City of Cape Town.
Last week, the DA announced that De Lille has ceased to be a member of the party after she had made comments on radio announcing her intention to leave the party. De Lille took the party to court challenging the cessation of her membership.
In handing down his judgement, Judge Gamble said he was concerned about how the loss of De Lille from the mayor’s office and the dissolution of the mayoral committee would affect the citizens of Cape Town, which was what influenced his decision.
Judge Gamble said that De Lille based her case on four reasons: the misinterpretation of her comments on the radio, the DA applying a double standard in invoking the clause, challenges of the constitutionality of the clause and technical issues in due process and procedure.
The DA’s deputy chairperson of federal executive Natasha Mazzone said in a statement that the ruling was not in the best interests of the people of Cape Town and that De Lille would only be acting in a ceremonial role with most of the mayoral activities to be taken by the DA caucus.
De Lille launched her court application on May 11, challenging the DA’s termination of her membership. The judges reserved judgement after both the parties had presented their arguments. However, the judges did interdict the Independent Electoral Commission from filling De Lille’s mayoral vacancy until the matter is concluded in court.
During the hearing, Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, who represented De Lille, argued that De Lille’s removal was unlawful and incorrectly applied. The court should therefore grant the urgent relief requested until the merits can be fully debated in two weeks.
Counsel for the DA, Sean Rosenberg SC, argued that De Lille’s removal had already occurred, and that an “urgent interdict” against the removal would therefore not make sense because the “horse has bolted”.
De Lille will remain the mayor of Cape Town pending the hearing of the cessation clause application which will take place on May 25.
Rosenber further argued that De Lille’s removal had already occurred, and that an “urgent interdict” against the removal would therefore not make sense because the “horse has bolted”.