The IEC gave the DA three days to publicly apologise to her for untruthfully telling voters in a telemarketing election campaign that they had fired her because she was corrupt, when in fact she had resigned and had been denied the opportunity to answer to the corruption charge.
But the DA will not apologise because it does not accept the IEC’s ruling, and says it will appeal it.
Political analyst Keith Gottschalk said the IEC’s decision was a setback for the DA, and another small victory for De Lille and her GOOD party.
“Election campaigns are when mud-slinging peaks. The IEC’s limits on mud-slinging and defamation provide a remedy for candidates and parties who cannot afford lawyers, costing sometimes more than R1million.”
De Lille had lodged a complaint with the IEC against the DA, charging that her former party had used its telemarketing campaign to spread lies about her.
“I welcome the IEC’s finding that the DA’s claim to have fired me from the position of mayor of Cape Town is a lie. I note that the IEC said it did not have all the facts to pronounce on the DA’s corruption claim, and will now refer this aspect of my complaint to the Electoral Court,” De Lille said.
“I have been forced to spend much of the past two years defending myself from scurrilous lies spread about me by the DA. Besides the IEC matter, I have had to take the DA to court three times in order to stop the party from tarnishing my reputation, winning each case - and there are presently four defamation cases pending against individual members of the DA,” said De Lille.
“I expect the DA to be calling each individual they previously called with misinformation to apologise for lying to them. I also expect the DA to publish its apology in the mass media.”
DA representative at the IEC Mike Moriarty said yesterday that despite the IEC ruling in favour of De Lille, the problem was not the law, but the IEC in taking such a decision.
He said there was a precedent five years ago when the DA appealed against the IEC’s decision on Nkandla, and won.
This related to an SMS the DA sent during the 2014 election campaign saying former president Jacob Zuma had stolen R246million for his Nkandla home in KZN.
The Electoral Court had ruled in favour of the ANC, but the Constitutional Court overturned that decision.
Asked if the DA would apologise to De Lille, Moriarty said: “Not at this stage because as far as we are concerned that decision of the IEC is wrong. It’s inconsistent with the law.”
Moriarty said they had handed over the matter to their lawyers.
“We sent our documents and we are challenging it in court,” he said.
The IEC had not responded by the time of publication.
De Lille and the DA parted ways in October last year following months of public spats and protracted legal battles over the DA’s allegations that she was involved in corruption.
She repeatedly asked for those allegations to be tested.