GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron Picture: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – The GOOD party has lodged an urgent application at the Western Cape High Court in a bid to force the DA to apologise to its leader and former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille for telling voters that she was fired as mayor.

The application by GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron, supplemented by a confirmatory affidavit by De Lille, came after the DA had “defied” an order by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) and would not issue an apology to De Lille within a three-day deadline.

The IEC found the DA to have violated the electoral code of conduct when it untruthfully told voters in a telemarketing election campaign that the party had fired De Lille because she was “corrupt”.

Herron’s application said they sought an urgent application against the DA on April 17, on the basis of the IEC’s ruling and the DA’s subsequent statements in the media that it did not accept the findings and would appeal the decision.

“It is apparent that the DA opposes the interdict on four grounds. The first ground of defence is that section 89 of the Electoral Act and item 9 of the electoral code only prohibit false statements that ‘threaten the mechanics of the conduct of an election’.

“The DA secondly contends that in any event, relying on the decision in DA v ANC, the Constitutional Court held that sections 89 and item 9 only deal with statements of fact and not comment and that the statement that offends Ms De Lille is clearly comment. 

"They aver that even if it were to be assumed that the impugned statements are not comment, it is true,” the papers state.

In their papers, the GOOD party included what they said was an agreement between the DA and De Lille before she resigned, as well as what appeared to be a supporting text message from DA leader Mmusi Maimane dated May 22, 2018 at the height of the spat between De Lille and her former party.

The DA’s liaison representative at the IEC, Mike Moriarty said: “We view this as yet more publicity-seeking from a person whose flailing election campaign has nothing to offer, other than repeated attacks on the DA. 

"We will not stoop to her level. The simple fact of the matter was that Patricia de Lille was in effect fired from the DA, by having three successful motions of (no) confidence against her by her own caucus.”

Cape Times