Patricia de Lille will on Tuesday afternoon hear if the Western Cape high court has suspended the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) decision to terminate her membership.
De Lille was axed from the party a week ago for making a statement to Radio 702 talk show host Eusebius McKaiser that she was willing to “walk away” once she had cleared her name. The DA said that her public statement showed an intention to resign from the party, and invoked its cessation of membership clause to oust De Lille.
Judges Patrick Gamble and Monde Samela will hand down judgement at 13:15pm on Tuesday afternoon to determine if De Lille should retain her party membership and her position as Cape Town mayor for the next two weeks.
On Friday, De Lille’s application for an urgent interdict to suspend the DA’s decision was heard. Her lawyers, Dali Mpofu and Johan De Waal, argued that the party violated its own due processes when it removed her, and she therefore remains a member of the party and the mayor.
The party’s lawyer, Sean Rosenberg, countered Mpofu and De Waal, saying that by the time De Lille had filed court papers, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had already been informed of the vacancy in her council seat and she no longer had any claim to her party membership.
Judges Gamble and Samela granted an order to interdict the IEC from filling De Lille’s seat in council, but Tuesday will determine if her lawyers have done enough to temporarily get her job back.
In two weeks time, De Lille’s application to challenge the legality of the cessation clause will also be heard. The matter is set down for May 25, when her legal team will argue that the cessation clause is unconstitutional and violates the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA).
In their responding papers, the DA has said that the clause does not violate the constitution and is not subject to PAJA because the party is a private entity that contracts with its members, and not a public body.
The judgement in that matter could make a more permanent resolution on if De Lille will remain a DA member or not.
De Lille has said that she wants her membership with the DA to continue so that she can clear her name in the disciplinary action the party has instituted against her.
If she loses her bid on Tuesday, De Lille has the option to appeal Gamble and Samela’s ruling which could further prolong the ugly spat that has ensued between her and the DA.