Cape Town - The Western Cape high court has reserved judgment in the matter of three former Swellendam DA councillors who are challenging the constitutionality of the party’s cessation clause, which saw their memberships terminated.
The legal battle between axed Swellendam Municipality speaker Bongani Sonqwenqwe, deputy mayor Gcobisa Mangcu-Qotyiwe and councillor Abraham Pokwas against the DA officially started last week.
In December 2022, the three were notified that their DA memberships had been terminated, which effectively ended their positions in the Swellendam Municipality.
This is after they were alleged to have voted against a caucus decision regarding holding back on advertising for the appointment of a director for corporate services at the municipality.
Last month they filed papers in the Western Cape High Court citing 22 respondents, including the DA.
Arguments in Part A of the papers averred that letters of cessation allegedly issued by DA federal legal commission chairperson Glynnis Breytenbach must have no effect, or alternatively that their cessation was suspended.
This was heard for the first time on Thursday and rolled over to Friday.
Judgment was reserved for a date yet to be set.
“Our legal representative focused on the constitutionality of the cessation clause, that the rule against our memberships must be declared unconstitutional and inconsistent with the Constitution.
“We now eagerly wait for the outcome and remain positive,” said Pokwas.
The councillors also want the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), where their positions were declared vacant, to be interdicted from holding a by-election in the municipality to fill the vacancies.
In January the three were replaced in the DA-run municipality.
Juan van Schalkwyk of the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) was sworn in as the new speaker of the Municipality, along with DA councillors Agnes Bokwana and David Julius.
DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille, who was accused of being behind the axing, defended herself, claiming she had made none of the decisions.
“Cessations are confirmed by the FLC and I follow their advice to the letter. My only role is to follow the DA’s constitution meticulously and ensure it is applied without fear or favour to every member.”