De Lille hear­ing set to go – maybe

Mail & Guardian - - News - Ra’eesa Pather

The Demo­cratic Al­liance has con­firmed that Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia De Lille’s dis­ci­plinary hear­ing will be­gin on Tues­day. Glyn­nis Breyten­bach, the chair­per­son of the party’s fed­eral le­gal com­mis­sion (FLC), and party leader Mmusi Maimane’s of­fice said the hear­ing has been set down for three days from Au­gust 7 un­til Au­gust 9.

But the charge sheet De Lille will face on Tues­day will be dif­fer­ent, ac­cord­ing to Breyten­bach.

Ni­cholas Got­sell, the head of the DA’s FLC, said he is not au­tho­rised to speak to jour­nal­ists and would not give any other de­tails about the charge sheet.

De Lille reached an agree­ment with the party ear­lier this month that the hear­ings will be open to the me­dia.

Ini­tially, she was meant to face a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence on July 26, which had been sub­mit­ted by DA coun­cil­lors but a last-minute agree­ment with the party led to the mo­tion be­ing with­drawn and De Lille agree­ing to an open dis­ci­plinary hear­ing.

The DA’s cau­cus is di­vided be­tween those who sup­port the mayor and those who have lost con­fi­dence in her lead­er­ship be­cause of al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct.

The dis­ci­plinary hear­ing on Tues­day, which will be con­ducted by the party’s FLC, will be the third De Lille has faced in less than a year. In Fe­bru­ary, the DA es­tab­lished a panel, led by Hans-Jurie Mool­man, to in­ves­ti­gate claims made against De Lille that em­anated from the Steen­huisen re­port. This re­port was com­piled af­ter coun­cil­lors in the Cape Town cau­cus tes­ti­fied be­fore a sub­com­mit­tee of the fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive, chaired by DA MP John Steen­huisen.

The charge sheet in the Mool­man hear­ings in­cluded al­le­ga­tions that De Lille had ap­pointed a close fam­ily friend, Limia Es­sop, to the board of the Cape Town Sta­dium and she al­legedly cov­ered up al­leged ir­reg­u­lar pay­ments in­volv­ing MyCiti bus ten­der. She was also ac­cused of be­lit­tling, hu­mil­i­at­ing and in­sult­ing fel­low mem­bers of the cau­cus.

The Mool­man panel ground to a halt in April af­ter De Lille de­manded a open pub­lic hear­ing.

The party then con­vened an­other dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate al­le­ga­tions that she did not prop­erly advertise a job for area-based di­rec­tors. That com­mit­tee was also in­def­i­nitely sus­pended be­cause the party would not al­low it to be open.

Got­sell would not say whether the DA’s ap­peal against a high court judg­ment in June, which re­in­stated De Lille’s party mem­ber­ship, would have any bear­ing on the hear­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the DA’s court ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal, the party still be­lieves that De Lille’s mem­ber­ship has been ter­mi­nated and that the high court made a mis­take based on the judges’ find­ing that the party did not fol­low due process when it ini­tially axed De Lille in May.

But, ac­cord­ing to the DA’s rules, its dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses can deal only with mem­bers of the party.

The time­line agreed to for the hear­ing may not leave De Lille’s le­gal team with enough time to pre­pare for the charges against her, which may lead to fur­ther de­lays.

She ar­guesthat she sup­ports the dis­ci­plinary process so that she can clear her name but the DA has said she has de­lib­er­ately de­layed the process by de­mand­ing a pub­lic hear­ing.

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