Dispute heats up as De Lille makes new demands before hearing
The row between Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and the DA intensified on Monday, a day before her disciplinary hearing.
De Lille has voiced concern about the composition of the panel that will hear her case and has called for the hearing to be open to the public and media.
De Lille was hauled before the party’s federal disciplinary committee on charges of maladministration, ignoring misconduct and tender irregularities. She was, however, allowed to remain in her position as mayor, pending the outcome of the disciplinary process.
The mayor has lost the support of a majority of the 154-strong DA caucus. In February, she survived a DA-sponsored no-confidence vote by a single vote, mainly with the ANC’s support.
De Lille said that given the widespread coverage and public interest in the matter the hearing should be open to the public and the media.
"My lawyers have emphasised to the party that I can only restore my reputation if the public is able to view and assess for themselves whether the process is fair. The party, however, wants a closed hearing.
"Quite ironically, it is Glynnis Breytenbach, who fought for her own disciplinary hearing to be open when she was at the National Prosecuting Authority, who is now leading the fight for a secret hearing." The hearing panel will be led by Tlokwe councillor Hans-Jurie Moolman, councillor Pogiso Monchusi and former deputy minister of justice Sheila Camerer.
De Lille said Camerer was not "competent or suitable to hear the matter [as she] hasn’t practised law in decades and she is a known political opponent. But as we know there is always a different standard when it comes to me: secret ballot for Zuma’s vote of no confidence, open vote for De Lille; premier Helen Zille could attend caucus meetings while she was suspended while I was not allowed to."
DA federal council chairman James Selfe described the statements as "fallacious reasoning".
"Internal party disciplinary issues are not generally open to the public, since it is a contractual relationship in which the public has no input or interest. It is therefore hard to imagine why this particular point is emphasised as being a ‘key consideration’," said Selfe.
"To suggest, as Ms De Lille does, that the hearing can only be fair if the public are able to assess it as such for themselves is of course devoid of any truth in law or fact." He said the panel would decide on Tuesday whether to open the hearing. "Mr Hans-Jurie Moolman is a practising attorney of many years standing. Mr Pogiso Monchusi is a practising advocate. Ms De Lille sarcastically alludes to ‘maar haastige hond verbrand sy mond’. Yet she accuses Sheila Camerer of being ‘a deputy minister of justice in apartheid SA’ and of not having practised law in decades.
"The facts are different: Ms Camerer was also appointed deputy minister of justice by president [Nelson] Mandela and is a practising attorney. She served as an MP for more than two decades and as the ambassador to Bulgaria. There is no reason to suggest that they are anything but totally independent and impartial," said Selfe.