Patricia de Lille. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Patricia de Lille. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The DA has succumbed to Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s demands to have her disciplinary hearing in public.

The party, which announced the withdrawal of a motion of no confidence in the mayor on Thursday, also agreed to appoint an independent senior prosecutor and a federal legal commission panel to preside over her internal disciplinary hearing.

“This agreement states that we will all strive to conclude the matter as soon as possible. We are working to ensure that the DA caucus, the mayoral committee and functions of the city are focused on putting the people of Cape Town first,” the party’s deputy chairwoman, Natasha Mazzone, said.

De Lille and the DA leadership reached an 11th-hour agreement, which will allow her to go through a disciplinary hearing within two weeks. She has been accused of maladministration and nepotism. However, previous proceedings could not be concluded due to disagreements over the make-up of the panel and her push to have the hearings held in public.

The drawn-out battle between the mayor and the party is likely to hurt the DA in the 2019 general election. The party has been trying to oust De Lille for several months. The embattled mayor survived an earlier motion in February.

A DA caucus motion of no confidence in her prevailed in April. But in June, the High Court in Cape Town ruled in her favour after she had requested the court to set aside the DA’s decision to strip her of her membership.

Mazzone said the parties had agreed to a “speedy disciplinary process, including a hearing over three days in August”.

“In line with the agreement, the motion of no confidence against mayor De Lille that was scheduled to take place today [Thursday] has been withdrawn. In addition, the agreement makes space for the mayor to be held accountable in a fair and reasonable manner for findings of independent council-led investigations,” said Mazzone.

De Lille had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

But it is understood that the DA caucus will table another motion of no confidence if the disciplinary proceedings are not concluded by the end of August. This suggests that the party still wants her out, regardless of the disciplinary hearing outcome.

Faiez Jacobs, the ANC’s provincial secretary, said the DA’s handling of the De Lille matter has “proven the DA to be an organisation led by dishonourable individuals who are not interested in the truth”.

“Despite numerous public accusations and reports by the DA against De Lille which naturally warranted a disciplinary hearing, the party has refused to continue with a transparent and open process, bizarrely choosing to adopt desperate and pathetic tricks instead.…

“The disregard of truth, the illegal machination and desecration of the most important office in the city has turned the DA into the enemy of the people and the ANC won’t allow it.”