Maimane says De Lille telemarketing case will end up at Electoral Court

GOOD leader Patricia de Lille has approached the Western Cape High Court for an urgent interdict to stop the DA from making claims about her in its telemarketing campaign but DA leader Mmusi Maimane says it is all about semantics.

The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) last week ordered the DA to "cease and desist" from saying De Lille was fired as the mayor of Cape Town, and also ordered the DA to publicly apologise to De Lille within three days.

De Lille said in a statement this week that the DA had refused to abide by the IEC's decision, questioning their intention just two weeks before elections.

"My lawyers have requested the DA to give me an undertaking to stop using their false script, saying that they "fired me", at least until a court has determined the finding of the IEC," she said.

"The DA have unreasonably refused to do so and this forces me to approach the courts, once again."

At a media briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday, Maimane confirmed they had taken the matter on review.

He challenged the semantics of the use of the term "fired" and said the IEC could not make "arbitrary" judgments.

"It will end up at the Electoral Court. To us, we are not worried about that. We will see everyone in court."

Last month, De Lille complained to the IEC about the DA's telemarketing campaign, alleging that the script used by call centre personnel stated that she had been fired and was guilty of wrongdoing.

When canvassers are asked about infighting and De Lille, they are allegedly asked to respond: "We fired Patricia de Lille because she was involved in all sorts of wrongdoing in the City of Cape Town. The DA doesn't allow corruption and will take action against anyone, even our own members."

De Lille announced that she was leaving the DA on October 31 last year - the same day she resigned as mayor of Cape Town as per agreement with the party after months of acrimony. She subsequently founded GOOD.

The IEC found that the DA made a "manifestly false statement" by saying that De Lille was fired, and was therefore in contravention of the electoral code.

They found that the allegations of wrongdoing and corruption against De Lille "constitutes an opinion or comment on the basis that these allegations are yet to be verified and therefore cannot be said to be false". 

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Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections.

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