Judgment at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town has been handed down, finding that there was non-compliance with its own constitution in the Democratic Alliance’s handling of the disciplinary process that culminated in the removal of Patricia De Lille as a member of the DA and then as mayor of Cape Town.
The party’s removal of Patricia De Lille was declared unlawful and was set aside with costs.
The DA’s refusal to give De Lille the opportunity to give evidence in mitigation was said to be an example of non-compliance in the matter by Judge Andre Le Grange.
The party was meant to give De Lille a chance to make representations, “which in our view it did not do”.
The judge said the process taken by the DA’s Federal Legal Council (FLC), which handles internal matters, was legally incorrect.
“Not only was the initial FLC selection panel improperly constituted, the FLC was in itself improperly constituted”
De Lille successfully won an interim interdict to hold on to her job in mid-May after she was stripped of membership of the DA.
She then applied to the court to have sections of the DA Constitution used to expel her from the party declared unlawful.
While legal representatives for the DA argued that De Lille’s stating her intention to leave the party during a radio interview in April was enough to cause the immediate cessation of her party membership, De Lille’s legal team contested this. Her lawyers argued that she, in fact, stated her intention to leave as mayor and not as a DA member, and that this was conditional. She told talk show host Eusebius Mackaizer she would resign only her name was cleared.
De Lille insists she wants to clear her name in a disciplinary inquiry after she was accused of misconduct by the party. A disciplinary hearing fell away when the DA invoked the cessation clause to remove her as a party member, effectively also stripping her of the mayorship.