Patricia De Lille at the Western Cape's High Court on Tuesday. PHOTO: ANA

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Patricia de Lille thanks supporters, returns to office in temporary reinstatement

CAPE TOWN, May 15 (ANA) –  Patricia de Lille thanked her supporters on Tuesday, after the Western Cape High Court reinstated her as mayor pending a reviewing court’s ruling on May 25.

She told journalists she would continue to put the people of Cape Town first as she fights for “equality and fairness”.

Judge Pat Gamble emphasised the court’s concern for Cape Town’s citizens and said there needed to be stability in the DA leadership.

In his judgment, he disagreed with De Lille’s argument that her reputation had been irreparably damaged.

“As far as harm is concerned, we do not perceive irreparable harm to Ms De Lille in her personal capacity. Her loss of income, status and freedom of association with the political party of her choice are all capable of being addressed later if the reviewing court finds in her favour. We are, however, genuinely concerned about the harm which her loss of office has for the people she is supposed to serve as the executive mayor of Cape Town”.

For this reason, he said, “preservation of the status quo as it existed immediately before Ms De Lille was informed of the decision of FedEx [DA federal executive] last Tuesday morning is in our view the only reasonable alternative in the prevailing circumstances”.

He suspended the cessation of her DA membership, hence she will return to her position as mayor of Cape Town pending a reviewing court’s ruling on part B of her application.

On Friday , the Western Cape High Court dealt with “Part A” of De Lille’s application to return to her post for two weeks until “Part B” of her application is dealt with. Part B, to be argued on May 25, is challenging the constitutional validity of the clause used to remove her from office.

Natasha Mazzone, the deputy chairwoman of the DA’s federal council said the court had agreed with the DA that De Lille had in fact tendered her resignation from the party when she told Radio 702 last month that she intended to quit the DA as soon as she had cleared her name in a bruising, highly public political fight with the party’s leadership.

Mazzone said the DA would proceed with disciplinary processes against De Lille.

De Lille faces charges of misconduct after a political inquiry headed by the party’s chief whip in Parliament John Steenhuisen found that the city council is hamstrung by infighting under her leadership.

Patricia de Lille, briefing journalists at the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, said she was exhausted by her legal battles with the DA, but would continue to put the people of Cape Town first.

Judge Pat Gamble ruled that De Lille be reinstated as Cape Town mayor until “Part B” of her application is heard by a reviewing court of three judges on May 25.

On Friday, she launched an urgent application to the court. “Part A” dealt with the question of her return to her post for two weeks until “Part B” of her application is dealt with. Part B challenges the Constitutional validity of the clause the party used to remove her both as a member and from office as mayor after an increasingly fraught seven years in the job.

She was sacked on Tuesday last week, following a battle with the party’s leadership and bitter tensions between her and members of the DA caucus in the City of Cape Town.

Gamble said that De Lille, now that she has been reinstated to her position as mayor, must subject herself to the party’s disciplinary processes. She faces misconduct charges.

The court rejected her submission that, during a radio interview with Eusebius McKaiser that led to her axing, she had only declared her intention to resign as mayor, but not from the party.

Gamble said in his judgment: “Turning to the prima facie right relied upon for review, we are of the view that the McKaiser interview, when considered in its entire context, demonstrates that Ms De Lille’s relationship with the DA has all but come to an end.

“Ms De Lille herself acknowledged that in the interview when she said that ‘the writing is on the wall’. There is the recognition of a long history of disharmony between the parties and Ms De Lille agreed with Mr McKaiser’s statement in that interview that she would resign from the DA (and not just as mayor): ‘The morning after I’ve won the court case then I will resign from the DA’.

“That intention is confirmed in these papers where Ms De Lille says, not that she is insistent on staying in the DA to serve its constituents, but rather to clear her name through the disciplinary process that the party has initiated against her. Her denial of an intention to resign in the long term is therefore not tenable at this stage and her prima facie right in this regard is, in our view, not strong”.

He said there was a need for stability in the City of Cape Town’s leadership, especially in light of the ongoing water crisis and land invasion protests:

“As undesirable as it may be in light of the bruising allegations and counter allegations which have been made in these proceedings, preservation of the status quo as it existed immediately before Ms De Lille was informed of the decision of FedEx last Tuesday morning is in our view the only reasonable alternative in the prevailing circumstances”.

The DA’s Natasha Mazonne said the judge had made it clear that De Lille must operate under the mandate and principles of the Democratic Alliance.

She said the DA would continue with disciplinary processes against De Lille.

Western Cape High Court Judge Pat Gamble said that there needs to be stability in the City of Cape Town’s leadership while the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Patricia De Lille resolve their legal disputes.

He suspended the cessation of her DA membership, hence she will return to her position as mayor of Cape Town pending a reviewing court’s ruling on part B of her application.

On Friday , the Western Cape High Court dealt with “Part A” of De Lille’s application to return to her post for two weeks until “Part B” of her application is dealt with. Part B, to be argued on May 25, is challenging the Constitutional validity of the clause used to remove her from office.

Gamble said the court was concerned about the impact the litigation was having on the people of Cape Town and said that the water crisis, along with persistent land invasion protests, needed decisive leadership in order to be managed properly.

He said if she is successful before the reviewing court, she may be reinstated as mayor, and could appoint her own mayoral committee.

“This would be musical chairs,” the judge noted.

“We take note of the fact that De Lille and the DA are not shy to litigate”, he added, and said there may be appeals and further legal action.

“As undesirable as it may be in light of the bruising allegations and counter allegations which have been made in these proceedings, preservation of the status quo as it existed immediately before Ms De Lille was informed of the decision of FedEx last Tuesday morning is in our view the only reasonable alternative in the prevailing circumstances”.

Natasha Mazzone, the deputy chairwoman of the DA’s federal council, said the court made it clear that it was in the interest of the city of Cape Town that the “status quo remains” until the main application is heard on May 25.

Mazzone said the court had agreed with the DA that De Lille had in fact tendered her resignation from the party when she told Radio 702 last month that she intended to quit the DA as soon as she had cleared her name in a bruising, highly public political fight with the party’s leadership.

After the ruling, the feisty De Lille thanked her supporters and said this is not about her but about the people of Cape Town.

De Lille faces charges of misconduct after a political inquiry headed by the party’s chief whip in Parliament John Steenhuisen found that the city council is hamstrung by infighting under her leadership.

Patricia de Lille was reinstated as mayor and a member of the Democratic Alliance by the Cape Town High Court after she won an urgent application against the party on Tuesday.

The high court ruled that De Lille must, however, still face disciplinary charges brought against her by the DA leadership.

It means that De Lille won the first round of a two-part court battle with the party. Part two of her application sees her challenge the lawfulness of the party’s decision to terminate her membership, and thereby end her seven-year reign as mayor. It will be heard later this month.

In ruling on her urgent application, Judge Pat Gamble said the court had prioritised the need for stability in the running of Cape Town, which is experiencing both the worst water shortage in living memory and a spate of land invasions.

The judge said the court wanted to avoid a situation where the mayor’s seat sees a game of “musical chairs” if the party appointed a new mayor, and De Lille’s subsequent legal challenge succeeded.

Natasha Mazzone, the deputy chairwoman of the DA’s federal council, said the court made it clear that in the interest of the city of Cape Town the “status quo remains” until the main application is heard on May 25.

Mazzone said the court had agreed with the DA that De Lille had in fact tendered her resignation from the party when she told Radio 702 last month that she intended to quit the DA as soon as she had cleared her name in a bruising, highly public political fight with the party’s leadership.

After the ruling, the feisty De Lille thanked her supporters and said this is not about her but about the people of Cape Town.

De Lille faces charges of misconduct after a political inquiry headed by the party’s chief whip in Parliament John Steenhuisen found that the city council is hamstrung by infighting under her leadership.

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