De Lille fighting for immediate return to mayoralty

James Selfe meanwhile says in paper's that the horse has already bolted in matter

De Lille rejects offer to keep mayoral position temporarily open, wants reinstatement

Patricia de Lille has rejected an offer by the DA to keep the permanent position of Cape Town mayor - and her seat in the council - vacant for the next three months while the parties argue the merits of her removal in court.

De Lille confirmed with News24 on Thursday that her lawyers received an offer on Wednesday that her position will not be "permanently" filled for the next three months, but filled by an acting mayor, while the parties head to court.

Her lawyers subsequently rejected the offer.

They will rather argue on Friday that the court should urgently suspend her removal from the DA, and thus the Cape Town city council, effectively returning her to her position. The merits of her removal will then be argued at a later date, while the "status quo" is preserved.

Her team has also requested that the Cape Town city manager be interdicted from informing the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) that she has ceased to be a member of the DA, and that the IEC also be interdicted from filling the vacancy.

The DA, however, filed responding papers to the court on Wednesday, saying it was too late as "the horse has bolted".

It said it was open to discussing the merits of De Lille's removal from the party in court "in the next weeks", but not under urgent circumstances on Friday.

'No turning back the clock'

In the papers, federal council chairperson James Selfe said the court could not grant De Lille the urgent relief she requested, as she had already been removed from the party.

The city manager has also already notified the IEC of the removal "before this application was launched", and therefore, "the horse has bolted".

De Lille was asking to "turn back the clock", Selfe argued.

"While the applicant will suffer little prejudice by a two-week delay, the DA will be saddled with a person who does not want to be a member, but occupies a council seat in the DA's name.

"The City will have a mayor who lacks the support of her caucus and who, having just been replaced by an acting mayor, may again be removed from office when part B (the merits) is decided," the papers read.

De Lille told News24 that her team would go ahead with her request for urgent relief in court on Friday morning. She said the team would be joined by advocate Dali Mpofu.

The IEC's Reverend Courtney Sampson confirmed to News24 on Wednesday that the commission had received notification of a vacancy in the City of Cape Town council.

It will however abide by the request to interdict the filling of the vacancy until after the court rules on the matter.