The disciplinary hearing of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille has been delayed at the demand of her lawyers, DA Federal Council chairperson James Selfe confirmed on Thursday.
Originally reportedly scheduled to start on Monday, it has now been pushed back two weeks.
Claims that certain members of the party wanted to “scrap the charges” and reach a settlement before the party’s elective conference in April were not true, Selfe said.
“We are ready to proceed with the disciplinary enquiry, and have been for some time. We are also confident that we will be able to sustain the charges. Should it be appropriate to settle the matter out of court, this might be considered, but should this arise, it would be considered on its merits and this would be completely unrelated to our congress.”
News24 previously reported that, in September, it had emerged that a subcommittee, headed by parliamentary whip John Steenhuisen, had been established by the DA’s federal executive to look into tensions and political management in the City of Cape Town.
Several councillors testified in the hearings and several allegations were made against De Lille and others.
News24 understands that De Lille’s legal team had asked for supporting documents related to the Steenhuisen report, such as affidavits of unnamed City of Cape Town officials who complained about her behaviour.
It had also apparently wanted the original correspondence from JP Smith over the shutting down of the City’s special investigations unit, which led to the unearthing of the claims against her. The scope and terms of reference given to the “Steenhuisen Commission” were also requested.
For months, De Lille has been the focus of several serious allegations and claims, many of which have been levelled at her by colleagues, but nevertheless survived a motion of no confidence last month.
She also wanted the hearing to be open, arguing that an impression of her being guilty of the charges has already been created by the party.
Should De Lille want the proceedings to be public, compelling reasons for this would have to be advanced, Selfe said.
“All disciplinary enquiries in voluntary organisations are held in camera, and this is the case in the DA too.”