Cape Town - Embattled mayor Patricia de Lille may have twisted the DA’s arm for a fair disciplinary hearing, but insiders say the agreement signed between her and the party has special conditions.
In a dramatic turn this week, DA councillor Marian Nieuwoudt announced the withdrawal of a motion of no confidence she had tabled.
A few minutes thereafter, the party announced the agreement with De Lille on a disciplinary process.
However, DA insiders told Independent Media the agreement did not shield De Lille from further motions of no confidence and she could be removed by late next month.
A DA leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “We were confident in our motion that it would remove her from her seat. She, however, agreed to sign the agreement and will comply with the disciplinary hearing. If she does not, we will call a special council meeting and we will remove her at the end of August.”
The DA said it would appoint a federal legal commission panel and the prosecution would be led by an independent senior prosecutor and open to the media. An initial disciplinary process against De Lille was brought to a standstill when one of the panellists was asked to recuse himself.
The leader said the process would allow De Lille to face the allegations and be removed with allegations tested in a fair disciplinary hearing.
“The party disciplinary process will deal with charges including the influence into the appointment of the city manager, municipal stadium and entities,” he said.
Though the party said it had chosen the route to settle the matter in a peaceful manner and afford De Lille a fair process, some within the party said the DA took the decision out of pressure from its funders.
An insider said that at the time when De Lille won her case against the party in May, DA leader Mmusi Maimane had been in London fundraising for the election campaign.
It is alleged that Maimane was turned down by funders who were not happy with the manner in which the party was handling the De Lille matter.
“The DA needs R600million for the election campaign. They do have some money but not their target that is why they want to resolve this matter so that they can focus on the campaign.
“The DA was also not planning to intervene until they saw that they did not have numbers. Patricia had more numbers, they knew they were going to lose,” he said.
DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi has dismissed the allegations as “rubbish”.
Despite the DA in the Western Cape saying that the matter would have no impact on its election campaign, the ANC emphasised it would take any opportunity to capitalise on the DA infighting.
ANC leader in the city council Xolani Sotashe said his party knew the way in which the DA had handled the De Lille matter would work in their favour.
“There is no doubt that the De Lille matter has a negative impact in terms of the DA’s constituency. We will capitalise and use everything.”