CAPE TOWN - A full bench of the High Court in Cape Town will make a ruling before the end of June on whether a clause in the Democratic Alliance (DA) constitution used to strip Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille of her party membership was unlawful.
The court sat for two days hearing arguments from De Lille's legal representatives and those of the DA.
In summing up his arguments, Dali Mpofu, senior counsel for De Lille, said the DA was looking after its own sectarian and selfish interests instead of those of the country and the people of Cape Town by not affording De Lille an opportunity to defend herself against misconduct allegations related to her job as Cape Town mayor in a disciplinary process, choosing instead to take a "short cut" to terminate her party membership.
"If she did all these horrible things, then why give here a free pass?" Mpofu asked.
"It should be more important for the people of the country, let alone Cape Town, whether De Lille has done all these things..."
Mpofu said the DA wanted the allegations to continue hanging over De Lille's head.
He asked the court to rule against the DA, saying the party was more interested in "saving face in the public" than ensuring that the truth about the alleged maladministration against De Lille be revealed.
"This is a matter where a message should be sent and a punitive costs order should be made."
Earlier, Sean Rosenberg, senior counsel for the DA, said a disciplinary inquiry was no longer needed as De Lille's departure from the party was a "foregone conclusion".
He argued that even if the DA had erred procedurally when terminating De Lille's membership, she still ceases to be a member of the party as she had publicly declared her intention to resign and in doing so breached the cessation clause .
"Her fate would be sealed," he said.
Rosenberg also addressed De Lille's meaning during the radio interview, arguing that contrary to De Lille's insistence that she meant to resign as mayor once her name is cleared she in fact intended to resign from the party as her relationship with the latter had "irretrievably broken down" and that there was no intention to mend fences.
De Lille will hold on to the mayoral chain for now, albeit in a ceremonial role following a council decision last week that reduced her powers, until the court makes its determination.
African News Agency/ANA