Cape Town - The Western Cape High has ruled that mayor Patricia de Lille be reinstated as the mayor of Cape Town and a DA councillor.
Judge Patrick Gamble ruled that De Lille be granted relief and that she be reinstated as mayor pending the court review on May 25.
Gamble said that De Lille, now that she has been reinstated to her position as mayor, must subject herself to the party's disciplinary processes. She faces misconduct charges.
The court rejected her submission that, during a radio interview with Eusebius McKaiser that led to her axing, she had only declared her intention to resign as mayor, but not from the party.
Gamble said in his judgment: "Turning to the prima facie right relied upon for review, we are of the view that the McKaiser interview, when considered in its entire context, demonstrates that Ms De Lille’s relationship with the DA has all but come to an end.
"Ms De Lille herself acknowledged that in the interview when she said that 'the writing is on the wall'. There is the recognition of a long history of disharmony between the parties and Ms De Lille agreed with Mr McKaiser’s statement in that interview that she would resign from the DA (and not just as mayor): 'The morning after I’ve won the court case then I will resign from the DA'.
"That intention is confirmed in these papers where Ms De Lille says, not that she is insistent on staying in the DA to serve its constituents, but rather to clear her name through the disciplinary process that the party has initiated against her. Her denial of an intention to resign in the long term is therefore not tenable at this stage and her prima facie right in this regard is, in our view, not strong".
He said there was a need for stability in the City of Cape Town's leadership, especially in light of the ongoing water crisis and land invasion protests:
"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".
De Lille approached the courts on Friday to challenge the constitutionality of Section 126.96.36.199 of the DA’s constitution which states that “a member ceases to be a member of the party when he or she publicly declares his or her intention to resign and or publicly declares his or her resignation from the party”.
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This rule was used to oust De Lille as mayor as well as terminate her party membership after she recently indicated in a radio interview that she may be prepared to abandon her fight to remain a DA member.
The mayoral committee has also been dissolved and deputy mayor Ian Nielson appointed interim mayor. The City manager has been instructed to inform the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of the vacancy left on the city council by De Lille’s departure.
- Additional reporting by ANA