DA VS DE LILLE: THE HYPOCRISY

Financial Mail - - EDITORIALS -

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The DA needs to in­ter­nalise this old say­ing. The party has, in its var­i­ous guises dur­ing and af­ter apartheid, made “due process” a ma­jor pillar of its de­mands from the op­po­si­tion benches. But its han­dling of the Pa­tri­cia de Lille mat­ter is a text­book ex­am­ple of hypocrisy by those in power.

This week the DA sum­mar­ily ter­mi­nated De Lille’s mem­ber­ship, au­to­mat­i­cally end­ing her ten­ure as a Cape Town city coun­cil­lor and as mayor. This dras­tic step, based on re­marks she made last month in an in­ter­view on Talk Ra­dio 702, cir­cum­vents the due process that would have al­lowed De Lille an op­por­tu­nity to de­fend her­self. It fol­lows the party’s fail­ure to pass a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in her in the coun­cil cham­ber ear­lier this year, and the DA’S adop­tion of a spe­cial con­sti­tu­tional clause that com­pels its pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives to va­cate of­fice within 24 hours of a vote of no con­fi­dence be­ing passed against them.

By re­fus­ing to take De Lille through a dis­ci­plinary process in which the party would present its ev­i­dence for its case against her — in­clud­ing her “pub­lic res­ig­na­tion” on the ra­dio show — the DA has shut the door on due process. In do­ing so, it has made it­self guilty of the same ac­cu­sa­tion it al­ways lev­els against the gov­ern­ing ANC. Two sides of the same coin?

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