DA open to probing fake De Lille post, but only after a police process

2018-05-08 17:02
Natasha Mazzone. (Netwerk24)

Natasha Mazzone. (Netwerk24)

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The Democratic Alliance says it is open to probing the circumstances that led some of its members to share a fake document posted on social media, purportedly signed by the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA), but only after the police investigates first.

News24 reported on Monday that some DA members had shared the altered document, which made adverse claims about Patricia de Lille over MyCiTi bus tenders.

READ: AG confirms 'De Lille exposed' post, shared by some DA members, is fake

AGSA spokesperson Africa Boso confirmed to News24 on Friday that Auditor General Kimi Makwetu did not sign the purported document and did not know where it originated from.

De Lille on Tuesday said she would be laying a complaint against those who shared it, once she finds some time.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, DA spokesperson Natasha Mazzone said the party should consider its own probe into the matter, but would not get in the way of any police investigation yet.

"We believe that this matter [will be] reported to the police. So, following findings by the police, we will make a decision about what to do to the members that unfortunately reposted this document," she said.

When asked if the DA would consider its own probe if the police investigation yielded no results, Mazzone confirmed that the party would.

"Absolutely, I think that goes without saying. We can't claim to be a party of accountability if we don't hold our own members to account. So certainly, we will be looking at doing some kind of probe to get to the bottom of it."

DA federal council chairperson James Selfe said it was party policy to allow any police process to unfold first.

"The reason for that is because the constituted state agencies have powers of subpoena and so-on that we don't have, and we don't want to come to one conclusion and the police come to another conclusion," he said.

'Not a DA document'

Mazzone admitted that "false news" was a problem, but also stressed that the party never used the document in any formal processes or shared it on any official platforms of the party.

"Let's be honest, false news is a massive problem. Not only just in South Africa, but worldwide," Mazzone said.

"It's very unfortunate that these documents were put on the internet and it's very unfortunate that people didn't check that these documents were authentic before sharing them.

"We know of two public reps at this stage who did press a share button on Twitter or Facebook.

"What we do know is that this document was not created by the Democratic Alliance and under no circumstance did it form part of our documentation on our website or any formal communications."

It is one of the conduct issues the party will have to look at going forward as the issue of fake news increases with the growth of social media, she said.

As a political party, they try do everything to not provide information to the public that's false, she added.

'Post reached more than 11 000 people'

De Lille meanwhile told journalists on Tuesday that her legal team's research suggested the post reached more than 11 000 people and was shared by more than just two MPs in Parliament and some councillors.

It was also shared in WhatsApp groups and she has taken screenshots, she said.

FULL STATEMENT: My integrity and my name are things I worked very hard for - De Lille

If time permits, she will be laying fraud complaints with the police at the soonest available opportunity.

The DA's federal executive meanwhile confirmed De Lille's cessation of her membership on Tuesday, after she supposedly publicly declared her "intention to resign" from the party, following the conclusion of her case.

The DA said that clause of its constitution stated that, if a member publicly declared an intention to resign, membership would cease immediately.

De Lille said she would be approaching the courts about the matter on Friday and would argue that the clause was unconstitutional and unfairly applied to her.

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille  |  social media

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