The Democratic Alliance was not playing fair and trying to oust Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille without proper legal procedure, her legal counsel told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Advocate Dali Mpofu, for De Lille, said the DA had intentions of pushing out De Lille without having to face legal procedure such as a hearing.
"This is the political equivalent of a death sentence. We are all entitled to be accused, get a hearing and then be fired if you are supposed to be fired," Mpofu said.
De Lille faces a motion of no confidence later this week and has turned to the high court in a bid to have the vote done via secret ballot.
Mpofu said there were those that would be brave enough to vote in favour of the mayor without the secret ballot and not care to lose their jobs, but there are also those that would not see themselves as "suicide bombers" to vote in favour of De Lille without the secret ballot.
According to Mpofu, De Lille said: "I don't want to interdict the vote. If members of the council want me to go I must go. All I am asking is to not allow members to go vote on Thursday with a gun to their head by not having the secret ballot."
In her legal heads of argument, the mayor seeks to overturn a DA policy decision that councillors are only allowed a secret ballot should the vote be about abortion or the death penalty.
She further dismisses the party's position that the recent Constitutional Court judgment that the Speaker of Parliament had the right to allow a secret ballot in a vote on a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma, did not apply to the local council.
De Lille said the party's resistance to a secret ballot was a clear indication that, to its leadership, her removal as mayor was a foregone conclusion.
The court application comes after the DA laid bribery and corruption charges against De Lille recently and also accused her of misconduct.
The corruption charges are related to an alleged attempt by De Lille to solicit a R5-million bribe from a Vanderbijlpark businessman Anthony Foul in 2012. She allegedly sought money in exchange for her support of Foul's company to supply fire extinguishers to Cape Town informal settlements.
De Lille denies these claims and states that the accusations are just another attempt to tarnish her name.
The motion of no confidence will be heard at the Council Chambers at the Civic Centre at 10 am on Thursday.