Mayor Patricia de Lille is greeted by a supporter outside the Western Cape High Court. With her is her legal representative, Advocate Dali Mpofu. Picture: Cindy Waxa/African News Agency/ANA.

Cape Town - The DA has laid the foundation to recall Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. 

De Lille's disciplinary hearing has laid bare the holes in the DA’s internal controls which have now been filled with new rules adopted at its congress.

De Lille has given the panel charged with investigating her a tough time, managing to get one panel member recused, collapsing proceedings.

She has also put to test the DA’s stance on media freedom, requesting that her disciplinary hearing be open to the public.

Mabine Seabe, DA’s director for communications, confirmed last week that the party’s constitution review committee was looking at including a clause in the party's constitution allowing it to recall any of its public representatives in government.

Up until Sunday, the DA had no such clause, unlike the governing ANC, which has used such mechanisms to get rid of former presidents Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki.

Along with the approval of the recall clause, the DA congress also resolved to have all disciplinary hearings held in camera. 

“As a Party that upholds, defends and promotes the rule of law, we subscribe to the law of general application. It is not about creating laws for this person or that person, it is about ensuring that the Party has the capacity to adequately deal with matters if and when they arise,” he said.

Seabe however denied that new rules are targeting De Lille.

Asked whether the DA is reacting to the flaws she laid bare, De Lille said the DA could as it pleased.

“These rules or new laws cannot be introduced retrospectively. It cannot be implemented without due process. The party’s own constitution states that no steps can be taken without any due process. I am constantly accused of telling lies, this is why I want the hearing to be open so that the public can see who is really playing games here,” she said.

“I am not at the conference and I am not in the know, but what I do know is that the natural cause of justice should be taken. I will go to court if needs be,” she said. 

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said whatever the DA decided, rules could not be applied retrospectively.

“It is clear that the DA does not want De Lille anymore. But that does not mean the rules can be bent to get her out. She should be given a fair amount of fairness and ofcourse she can fight for this. 

"But the problem is bigger in party, this is why we are seeing all these new rules. The leadership in the party is not there any longer. We cannot allow leaders to govern without a mandate, but the leadership has allowed this to continue and are now waking up," he said.

Meanwhile the DA has dismissed De Lille's application to have her hearing open to the public and is yet to decide on an application by the media.

Hans Moolman, chairperson of De Lille’s disciplinary hearing, said in his ruling: "In response to the Accused member’s reasons for asking that public access to the hearing be allowed, the committee assistants enter the fray of trying to establish an ulterior motive for such request, which we do not regard as relevant to the task at hand and for the reasons stated below." 

A date for the continuation of her disciplinary hearing is yet to be confirmed.

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Cape Argus