The Democratic Alliance has accused Cape Town mayor Patricial De Lille of misleading the public with her statement ahead of her disciplinary hearing.
DA is a voluntary organisation, whose members are bound to its Constitution and Rules of Practice. Ms De Lille unfortunately conflates her personal and professional capacities, and creates the impression that they are one and the same thing. Of course, this is fallacious reasoning.
The process currently underway in which the Federal Legal Commission (FLC) is involved concerns Ms De Lille and the Democratic Alliance. It is a disciplinary hearing in which she is charged with contravening the Federal Constitution of the DA, specifically, charges of misconduct.
Ms De Lille is the one who constantly alleges that she is facing charges of corruption. We have never said so. It is true that there is a simultaneous investigation taking place in the City, and depending on its outcome, it is possible that further charges will be put to Ms de Lille.
It is therefore, quite clearly, an internal matter between a member and the Party. It is of no interest to the general public and has nothing to do with her relationship with the City of Cape Town Council.
Internal party disciplinary issues are not generally open to the public, since it is a contractual relationship in which the public has no input or interest. It is therefore hard to imagine why this particular point is emphasised as being a “key consideration”.
To suggest, as Ms De Lille does, that the hearing can only be fair if the public are able to assess it as such for themselves, is of course devoid of any truth in law or fact.
The hearing will be conducted in accordance with the Federal Constitution of the DA, and in accordance with the Rules of the FLC, all of which Ms De Lille bound herself to when she became a member of the DA.
These processes and procedures are followed in all disciplinary matters, regardless of who the particular member is. Ms De Lille, having herself served on the Federal Executive of the DA for many years, and viewed the disciplinary process up close, had no issue with it until now.
Ms De Lille is also aware, from years of experience of the system, that the FLC acts on those matters referred to it by the Federal Executive. It is not a pseudo police force that investigates all and any matters that appear in the press or elsewhere.
The Panel to hear the matter was appointed in the normal course from a group of individuals who make up the FLC of the DA. The same process is followed in all matters, this one being no different. All the members of the Panel hold legal qualifications, and all of them have practiced law for many years.
Mr Hans-Jurie Moolman is a practicing attorney of many years standing. Mr Pogiso Monchusi is an admitted and practising advocate.
Ms De Lille sarcastically alludes to “maar haastige hond verbrand sy mond”. Yet she accuses Sheila Camerer of being “a Deputy Minister of Justice in Apartheid South Africa” and of not having practiced law in decades.
The facts are different: Ms Camerer was also appointed Deputy Minister of Justice by President Mandela, and is a currently a practising attorney. Further to this, she served as a Member of Parliament for more than two decades and also served as the Ambassador to Bulgaria.
There is no reason to suggest that they are anything but totally independent and impartial.
Should Ms De Lille wish to bring an application for any member of the Panel to recuse themselves as suggested in her press statement, it will have to be brought in the correct fashion before the correct forum and will have to be based on the applicable principles in law, not the subjective claptrap contained in her press statement.
The charges preferred against Ms De Lille were made available to her weeks ago and it is in nobody’s best interest to ventilate the charges and or any evidence in the public domain prior to the hearing.