KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango felt that Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was being unfairly treated when he openly voted against her expulsion from the party, said a provincial leader close to Mncwango.

Mncwango confirmed on Monday that he was the only one who went against the federal executive members, whose majority vote had early this month terminated De Lille’s party membership.

Before the voting process, the federal legal commission recommended that she should be fired for telling a radio station that she was willing to resign from the party.

A Sunday newspaper reported that during a meeting of the party’s federal council, Mncwango was the only leader who voted against the decision to oust De Lille.

Mncwango said on Monday that he indeed voted against the majority, and that he was the only one who did that.

“I used my democratic right to vote against or in favour of any recommendation, and in this case it was against,” he said. He added that the DA did not have a policy that forced members to vote against their conscience and principle.

READ: DA councillors support motion to kick out #DeLille

On the fact that his vote was defeated, Mncwango said: “I respect the majority decision but that doesn’t change my views”.

While Mncwango declined to elaborate on his reasons, a provincial leader, who asked to remain anonymous, said Mncwango felt that there were insufficient grounds to fire De Lille from the party.

“He felt that the recommendations were unfair. Even if the person was wrong, correct processes should have been followed to get rid of her.

“You cannot just use anything in a rush to get rid of her, but you must still follow right processes because that would one day come back to harm other people,” said the leader.

The leader said Mncwango did not defend De Lille because of her race.

“Right now no one knows the exact offence De Lille committed. That is why he (Mncwango) told them not to remove a person without hearing her side of the story,” the leader said.

Another DA leader said Mncwango had during the party congress last month opposed the amendment of the party constitution to include the “recall clause”, as he felt this was merely done to target De Lille.

“He expressed that the party processes should be fair and natural justice should be applied,” said the leader.

Another DA member said Mncwango had proven himself to be a principled leader who would not “swing with the majority”.

“Many people prefer to vote with the majority because of fear,” said the member.

“Right now they are worried that the court would rule that the decision to remove De Lille was irrational because we had similar cases (where people said they would resign) before but no one was fired,” said a source.

DA spokesperson Refiloe Ntsekhe said the vote against De Lille was an internal matter, which should not be discussed outside the party.

“Whoever leaked this was violating the party process because you cannot be leaking serious issues like that,” said Ntsekhe.

The Mercury