Embattled Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said on Friday she has hired Advocate Dali Mpofu to represent her as she launches an urgent high court application in relation to a motion of no confidence the city council will hear against her on Tuesday.
De Lille, who is facing corruption charges, is seeking that the court order that councillors be allowed to vote by secret ballot on the motion.
She has been engaged in a bitter war of words with her party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), who have reported allegations that she invited a bribe from a potential supplier to the city.
De Lille drew a parallel between her plight and that of President Jacob Zuma when he faced a motion of no confidence in Parliament in August and opposition parties, including the DA, went to court to demand that the vote proceeded by secret ballot to allow dissidents to vote according to conscience.
"It seems that the Backroom Boys Club are so pre-occupied with bullying tactics that they fail to see the hypocrisy between this matter and when the DA fought for a secret ballot along with the UDM with the motion of no confidence into President Jacob Zuma. In order to ensure consistency, we are using the same legal counsel to ensure that the same legal principle is tested. We are confident about our case and we are going to court.
"The DA has said that councillors are free to vote with their conscience yet they refuse a secret vote. A vote can never be free unless it is a secret. This is a fundamental principle of our democracy."
She said she was seeking a secret ballot because many DA councillors, who hold two-thirds of the seats in the council, had said to her they feared reprisal should they vote in her favour.
De Lille has been at open war with the party since it launched an independent investigation into maladministration in the council late last year. It led to the suspension of the commissioner of the city's planning authority, Melissa Whitehead.