The protracted wrangle between the DA and Good party leader Patricia de Lille is now being fought on two fronts – in the high court and in the electoral court – just 13 days ahead of the elections.
The high court in Cape Town will on Friday hear an application by De Lille to interdict the DA from telling voters that it “fired” her.
The former mayor of Cape Town complained to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) that the DA – from which she resigned after a war of words late last year – breached the Electoral Act and the electoral code of conduct by instructing its call-centre operators to tell voters that she was fired.
According to De Lille, the IEC ruled in her favour on April 15 and ordered the DA to “desist from using the script and to apologise within three days”.
De Lille decided to approach the high court after the DA ignored requests by her lawyers to “give me an undertaking to stop using their false script saying they fired me, until at least a court has determined the finding of the IEC”.
“The DA are publishing false statements about me with the intention of influencing the voters’ choice and the outcome of the election,” she said in a statement.
On Wednesday, De Lille was back in the high court, where she previously had a series of skirmishes with the DA.
She was accompanied by dozens of supporters who danced enthusiastically while the speakers of a car – emblazoned in her new party colours – blared songs laden with her praises. They thronged around her as she took the microphone, denouncing the DA as “blue liars”.
“The court has to determine the urgency. That’s a technicality. It does not change the fact that the DA are a bunch of blue liars. They have lied that they have fired me,” said De Lille.
“In fact, they have no evidence whatsoever that I have gone through a disciplinary procedure, that I was found guilty and that I was fired – so [the DA] continues to be a bunch of liars.
“Second, the evidence that I have put before the court … will show that in fact, a few days before we signed the agreement [to part ways], we had agreed to an open disciplinary hearing in front of the media and the public. The DA appointed a legal firm and my legal team met them. So they are lying to say that I have resigned in exchange of them dropping the charges.”
DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi downplayed De Lille’s attack. He said he found it bizarre that she had approached the high court when the DA had taken the IEC finding on review to the electoral court.
“We went to the electoral court challenging the ruling that the IEC made. She then went to the … high court seeking an interdict against us about the same thing that we are challenging in the electoral court, which has not yet made a determination.”
Malatsi said the DA would defend itself in the high court.
“She gets more coverage when she talks about the DA than when she talks about Good. It’s not good. We have something to offer to the voters, hence we are focused on campaigning. We are not talking about her and her party,” he added.