Former DA councillor wins seven-year court battle with party
Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court has upheld an appeal by former Bitou Municipality Speaker Johann Brummer against the DA in a long-running case where Brummer lost his membership of the party in 2012 after he failed to pay a compulsory R5 621 in dues.
Brummer denies owing the party money and claims there were “ulterior motives” behind the action.
According to court papers, Brummer, who joined the DA in 2000, had served as a councillor on the Bitou Local Municipality in Plettenberg Bay and on the Eden District Municipality for more than a decade.
However, on August 13, 2012, the DA terminated Brummer’s membership of the party, alleging that he had failed to pay his dues.
The DA’s constitution says that membership of the party can be terminated if a member defaults with payments of compulsory contributions for two months in a row after having been notified in writing that they were in arrears.
The original matter was argued before then Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso in September 2012 and dismissed with costs. Judge Traverso said she was not persuaded that Brummer’s party membership had been terminated unlawfully.
Brummer appealed Judge Traverso’s ruling, citing issue estoppel, a legal principle that prevents someone from arguing something or asserting a right that contradicts what they previously said or agreed to by law. It is meant to prevent people from being unjustly wronged by the inconsistencies of another person’s words or actions.
Brummer’s attorney, Frans Smit, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the appeal in which two judges ruled in our favour with a dissenting minority of one.
“My client’s joy is, however, somewhat dampened by the experience of litigating against the DA over the past seven years. It is obvious from their conduct that the DA will do everything and anything to avoid the matter being heard on the merits regardless of the expense involved.
“Obviously, with access to unlimited donor funding they are well set to employ a Stalingrad defence.”
This is a strategy usually used by a defendant to wear down the plaintiff or legal proceedings by appealing every ruling that is unfavourable to the defendant and using whatever other means possible to delay proceedings.
DA Bitou caucus leader Bill Nel said: “The decision about whether to appeal or not will be taken at federal level.”