Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance wants to change its constitution to include a recall clause that will allow it to remove its public representatives, by passing litigious processes that have plagued their disciplinary processes.
The party was exposed for not having any mechanism to remove its public representatives in its continuing tug of war with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille.
De Lille is currently facing a disciplinary inquiry expected to be concluded on March 20. Majority of DA members in her caucus voted for her to go during a motion of no confidence debate, but De Lille survived by one vote with the support of the ANC that made a last minute about turn and withdrew its own motion against her.
In the new proposal the recall clause will be used against president, premier or mayor or any member appointed to a government position who contradicts the party, brings it into disrepute, lacks competence to perform functions and has lost the confidence of the caucus.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane who is running for a second term, is championing the inclusion of the recall clause.
“I think that clause is necessary, it didn‘t exist in our constitution, it should apply there and should be able give us a safeguard as the ultimate sanction when a particular individual holds a certain belief that they are bigger than the organisation,” Maimane said.
In an interview with News24 ahead of the April congress, Maimane admitted that the recall clause was in reaction to the De Lille saga that has made them “sober up”.
“We have always given rights to individuals and I think what has happened is that most disciplinary processes have become litigious and almost became para legal processes, so you end up with individuals being able to take the party to court and it carries on for a very long period time,” Maimane said.
He also added that the clause is now necessary as the party adds more cities under its governance and has its eyes on governing more provinces in the 2019 elections.
However, Maimane said unlike the ANC, where its National Executive Committee can recall a leader without a prior disciplinary process – the DA will still afford its members an opportunity to state their case first.
The decision to recall would be taken by the federal council which is the DA‘s highest decision making structure between conferences.
“The Federal council may, after giving him or her the opportunity to make representation to it, resolve to require him or her to resign from his or her office. Failure by that member to resign will lead to the cessation of his or her membership of the party,” the constitutional proposal states.
Two internal and external investigations made adverse findings against De Lille. DA insiders have told News24 that she had earlier offered to resign on condition that the DA withdrew its charges against her.
Maimane said the party was not willing to back down on the charges as there were “real facts based on independent institutions that investigated the matter”.
“If her offer was genuine about being willing to resign I think we could have a decent conversation…. we believe that the issues that we raised are substantive enough. I can‘t change the audit opinion, I can‘t change Bowman Gilfillan opinion on the matter,” he said.
De Lille has denied all charges and vowed to fight until she clear her name.
Maimane also played down sentiment by pundits that the party could lose the Western Cape coloured vote if it went ahead and removed De Lile as mayor.
He warned against what he called racial solidarity in voting patterns.
“And if you go that route naturally you should be able to say the removal of Patricia then it is the function of the removal of the entire coloured people and that in some ways is not recognition that coloured South Africans are also concerned about report findings against mayor.”
“On principle people should be able to say it is not racial solidarity that we are after but a competent capable government,” he said.
An exerpt from the constiutional proposal by the Democratic Alliance.