OUTCRY: ANC councillors express their discontent after some DA members turned their backs on mayor Patricia de Lille while she delivered her speech during the council meeting. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - "See you in court”

With this message, mayor Patricia de Lille left the City Council chambers after her executive powers were stripped during a seven-hour-long, heated council meeting that started and ended in chaos and drama on Thursday.

De Lille, now only a ceremonial mayor, warned the DA caucus that their actions would result in service delivery being negatively affected. Seated next to deputy mayor Ian Neilson while he read out how her powers would be stripped, De Lille said: “I just want to tell you, what you are deciding today is going to negatively affect the service delivery of this City. But I will see you in court.”

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De Lille is to include this action in her ongoing court case.

The meeting was tense from the start and descended into chaos, but the chaos reached alarming levels when ANC opposition leader Xolani Sotashe pointed to some DA councillors who had turned their back on De Lille while she was delivering her address to council.

De Lille did not react to the councillors who turned their backs, among them DA metro chairperson Grant Twigg and councillors Malusi Booi and Angus McKenzie, whose back was half-turned on De Lille.

On Twitter, De Lille responded to those who turned their back on her with: “When they go low, we go high.”

The motion to have De Lille stripped of her powers effectively means designated authority is to be decided on by the mayoral committee. “In the case of ceremonial duties of the executive mayor, the mayor shall conduct ceremonial duties as listed by the current (legislation),” the recommendation, now a law, reads.

The mayoral committee also needs to be considered in respect of ceremonial duties, and consensus is required before any decision can go ahead. De Lille’s travelling is also to be curtailed and needs to be approved by the mayoral committee.

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“Consideration of the mayoral committee shall be on the basis of consensus. If there is a lack of consensus, the matter should be referred to the speaker, Dirk Smit, for allocation of civic and ceremonial duties. In such cases, the speaker must submit a consolidated report of such decisions to the next council meeting for noting,” the report said.

Smit should also compile and present a consolidated report to the council.

The council is also to instruct the City manager, Lungelo Mbandazayo, to design business and logistical plans for the implementation of the recommendations.

Sotashe said: “The mayoral committee is appointed by the mayor, now the Mayco wants her to be accountable to (them). This is not right. Nowhere in any provision is this catered for.”

Neilson said: “There are provisions made for this. We have decided on this, and we are not changing anything. These new rules will also ensure that there is a smooth running of business and a more inclusive government. The DA feel this is the only option now.”

In the end, 137 councillors voted in favour of the motion, 50 were against it and two councillors abstained.

De Lille will be in court on Monday.

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Cape Argus