De Lille victorious in bid to overturn DA axing

2018-06-27 10:17
Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille after the Western Cape High Court rules in her favour in her case against the DA. (Paul Herman, News24)

Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille after the Western Cape High Court rules in her favour in her case against the DA. (Paul Herman, News24)

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WATCH LIVE: Court rules on De Lille’s DA membership

2018-06-27 10:07

The Western Cape High Court has set aside the Democratic Alliance's decision to terminate Patricia de Lille's party membership for comments she made during a radio interview. Watch. WATCH

The Western Cape High Court has set aside the Democratic Alliance's decision to terminate Patricia de Lille's party membership for comments she made during a radio interview.

A full Bench found on Wednesday that the party's determination that she ceased to be a member of the DA was unlawful. The decision was set aside with costs.

De Lille is therefore still a member of the DA.

LIVE: 'This is not the end' - De Lille after court rules in her favour against the DA

De Lille will now permanently return to her position as City of Cape Town mayor, pending an appeal. The DA has since indicated it would study the judgment in preparation for a possible appeal.

De Lille and the DA met in court earlier this month to argue the merits of her removal for comments she made during a Radio 702 interview on April 26.

In May, the DA's federal executive announced that De Lille had breached one of the party's constitutional clauses when she said during the interview that she would "walk away" upon clearing her name of various allegations levelled against her.

Non-compliance of DA rules 'not trivial'

Judge Andre Le Grange on behalf of a full Bench, said that, while many arguments were put forward regarding De Lille's relationship with the DA, the matter could be decided without considering the Constitutional matters at play.

The issue was whether the DA correctly followed its own rules, in both setting up a federal legal commission panel to look at De Lille's case, and in following disciplinary procedures.

The judges found that, following arguments presented, a DA member's membership did not automatically cease upon declaring an intention to resign.

"It is in fact dependent on a determination made by the DA's Federal Legal Commission, which must in turn be referred to the [DA federal executive]," Le Grange said.

The judges found that DA federal council chairperson James Selfe's "differing interpretations" in their court papers, on how a DA FLC panel was constituted, to be "strained and confused".

"In our view, there can be no uncertainty in how the FLC should have been constituted," he said.

'Cessation of membership cannot stand'

The FLC panel appointed to look at De Lille's case was required to make recommendations to the federal executive on who the other alternate members appointed to the panel would be.

This was so that competently trained and skilled people were appointed.

"It is abundantly clear that on the DA's own version, this was not complied with. It was material, and not trivial, as the DA suggested."

The FLC in the context of the DA's constitution is an important structure, he continued. Its composition therefore should be in line with its constitution, and in line with the principle of legality.

"It follows that the cessation of Patricia de Lille's membership cannot stand."

The judge also said there was a second material problem with the DA's procedure, in that De Lille was not given an opportunity to give evidence in mitigation of the charges.

"The determination that the applicant ceased to be a member of [the DA], is declared unlawful, and invalid, and is reviewed and set aside with costs."

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Read more on:    da  |  city of cape town  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town
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