Durban - The caucus leaders of the DA in eThekwini, that were ousted through a motion of no confidence, have been reinstated after it was found that the process to remove them was flawed.
The party’s legal federal commission reversed the decision to remove leader Thabani Mthethwa, deputy caucus leader Mzamo Billy, chief whip Vincent Mkhize and whip Zoe Solomon, reinstating them to their positions with immediate effect.
The letter announcing the reversal of the decision arrived minutes before the caucus was set to elect new leadership on Friday. It showed that Billy and councillor Warren Burne had lodged a complaint with the commission about the processes followed in the tabling of the motion of no confidence against the leaders.
There have been claims by some members of the caucus that the motion of no confidence was essentially a retaliation by the provincial leaders in response to members of the caucus not supporting them during the provincial congress. However, other members of the same caucus disputed this, saying there was victimisation in the caucus and misogyny. They accused the leadership of not protecting them during the caucus engagements where they were mistreated and so they had resigned.
The official reason given for the motion of no confidence, was that the caucus was failing to hold the eThekwini Municipality accountable for the myriad service delivery and governance failures.
The legal federation commission’s letter stated that the motion of no confidence was being challenged on several fronts, largely due to the process followed. While it dismissed some of the complaints, it substantiated some, thereby leading to the final finding that the motion was defective. Among the complaints was that some provincial leaders had taken part in the process when they should not have.
As part of his submission, said the commission, KZN chairperson Dean Macpherson provided a thorough report of the state of the eThekwini caucus, the challenges that it faces, and an evaluation of the performance of the caucus.
“While this is greatly appreciated and provides the panel with an, albeit worrying, insight into the state of affairs in eThekwini, it is not strictly necessary for the purposes of adjudicating this dispute,” it said.
In its findings, the commission said: “The mandate of the Federal Legal Commission in respect of this motion is to determine whether the motion of no confidence complies with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.” The commission found that the motion of no confidence in the caucus executive was not tabled aloud in its totality, thereby causing the motion that served and the votes that were cast to be invalid.
Other findings included that some of the provincial leaders had taken part in the process when they had no authority to do so and some that participated did not have the authority to participate.
“The motion of no confidence in the caucus executive, as passed by the eThekwini Caucus on 13 June 2023, is declared to be defective and invalid. All members that were removed from electable positions as a result of the defective motion are hereby restored to their elected positions with immediate effect,” said the commission’s findings.
Further, the panel deemed it necessary to refer the matter to the Federal Complaint Tagging Committee for consideration and possible investigation of any instances of misconduct that could have been committed.
Macpherson said, “This decision comes from a national structure, the FLC, I would refer you to the Chairperson of the Federal Council, Helen Zille.”
The DA national office directed The Mercury to the party’s provincial leader Francois Rodgers.
He confirmed that the commission had found the process to table the motion was invalid.