Mayor Patricia de Lille Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Cape Town - Mayor Patricia de Lille’s legal representative, advocate Dali Mpofu, argued before a full Bench of the Western Cape High Court yesterday that the DA’s conduct to expel his client as a member and remove her as a mayor was in “bad faith” and unconstitutional.

Mpofu said the entire proceedings were a waste of the court’s time. “We should not be sitting here. This whole crisis is affecting the government of the City. This can go on until 2021. This issue does not belong here.

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“This is just a smoke screen that has been put before the court. I am sure there are worse members they are tolerating. All we are saying is that they have chosen an illegal route. 

"They need to canvass council members and convince those members to vote in favour of the vote of no confidence. A message needs to be sent by the court that other political parties need to learn.”

Judge Andre le Grange said: “This is a political matter, it should be resolved politically.” Mpofu responded: “Your Lordship is absolutely right. to make this issue legal is absurd. But seeing that we’re here now, we must apply the law.”

Patricia de Lille and her senior council Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA

Advocate Johan de Waal, representing De Lille, will continue with his argument this morning before the lawyers representing the DA make their case.

De Lille is challenging the party’s constitutionality of a clause in the DA’s constitution that it relied on to fire her early last month, when she told a radio host during an interview that she would resign as mayor only after she had cleared her name.

“Your Lordship is absolutely right. to make this issue legal is absurd. But seeing that we’re here now, we must apply the law.”

De Lille wants the court to review and set aside the party’s decision to expel her, arguing that a clause not consistent with the constitution was rendered invalid. The clause states that when a member utters a public intention to resign, then their membership is revoked with immediate effect.

Mpofu argued that the DA clause violated section 16, 18 and 19 of the country’s constitution as it infringed on her rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association. “Our entire approach is that what the DA did is to get rid of the mayor and had chosen an unlawful route.”

Cape Times