Cape Town - Embattled Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has gone to court to ensure that DA councillors are free to vote “according to their conscience, either in favour or against the motion of no confidence against me”.
The vote is scheduled to take place on February 15, at a caucus meeting last month 59 out of the DA’s 154 councillors did not support the call for motion of no confidence against De Lille. All indications are that should these rebel DA councillors side with the opposition the motion of no confidence in De Lille would be defeated by secret ballot.
In response to De Lille’s application with the Western Cape High Court, DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said the party respected the ruling of the Constitutional Court.
Last year the Constitutional Court ruled that a vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma be conducted by secret ballot.
Selfe said: “This matter (court application) will be addressed between our lawyers and her lawyers. We’ve made it clear that we are bound by the Constitutional Court...a decision on how people will vote will be done by the council and not the DA”.
De Lille said she did not seek to avoid the motion of no confidence, but sought the assurance that it will proceed in a constitutional and fair manner, “especially considering that I have not been treated fairly by the DA throughout this process”.
The DA federal executive had indicated that they would lodge an investigation into De Lille, charging that she had covered up corruption in the City’s transport directorate, specifically allegations against that unit’s boss Melissa Whitehead who herself was suspended last month. The man who had allegedly covered up the allegations against Whitehead, former City Manager Achmat Ebrahim, has since resigned from the City.
De Lille said she had been informed by DA City of Cape Town caucus chair Suzette Little that all DA councillors were bound by the caucus decision(to support the motion of no confidence).
“Many councilors, ordinary party members and members of the public are supporting me and wish that the Councillors that represent them be given an opportunity to vote against the motion without fear of being side-lined in the Party.
“Party leadership, both at federal and provincial level, desperately want to get rid of me. Anyone with aspirations to move up in the ranks of the DA will fear the repercussions that will follow if they vote against the motion,” said De Lille.