THE Democratic Alliance has emerged from its elective conference with a controversial clause that has been dubbed the ‘De Lille’ clause, aimed at recalling a leader who has lost support from party structures.
The clause gives the party’s federal executive powers to recall elected public representatives from office.
The adopted policy comes as the party and the Cape Town mayor are at loggerheads with many calling for her removal over allegations of fraud. The party has been trying to have her removed from the mayoral position but has thus far failed to do so.
According to the new clause, the DA’s federal executive‚ now has the authority to fire mayors‚ premiers and other public representative for misbehaving‚ disobeying party instructions and other offences.
During the debate at the conference which was held in Tshwane over two days, DA KwaZulu- Natal leader Zwakele Mngcwango called on party members to ensure the process follows natural justice before a public representative is removed.
De Lille is currently facing disciplinary action over allegations of maladministration and nepotism.
In terms of the new constitutional amendment‚ public representatives would still be allowed to make representations to the federal executive before their fate is decided.
Western Cape education MEC Debbie Shafer said it was untenable to allow DA public representatives to enjoy the protection of opposition parties whenever they were charged with wrongdoing.
“We are a political party and we should allow a political party to take political decisions. It’s untenable to have a person who is protected in power by the opposition‚“ Shafer said.
Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela‚ who is gunning for De Lille’s job supported the amendment, saying that public representatives were members of the DA before they occupy office.
DA MP Dean Macpherson cautioned against members who looked after their own interests and not those of the party.
“I think we should be very clear that as the DA moves to new waters in leading government‚ we can’t allow governments to be held hostage by special interest groups outside of the DA‚“ he said.
But not everybody supported the move. Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga warned against the party making changes that favour interests of certain individuals.
“No individual must hold the party to ransom but everybody has a right to fairness‚“ he said
The party has however defended the move, claiming it was not directed at De Lille, however, recent events have necessitated a means for the party to remove an office bearer in which it has lost confidence.
Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe said the clause was more about accountability more than anything else.
“This is an opportunity for us as the leadership of the organisation to now say going forward when there are challenges, we have this leeway to recall mayors or any other public representative,” she said.
The party has vowed to fight the proposed land expropriation bill being discussed. The DA said it would fight until the end.
Parliament is currently in the process of receiving public representations on its resolution to amend section 25 of the constitution to land without compensation.
Re-elected part leader Mmusi Maimane said expropriation without compensation would not fast-track land restitution. Instead it would put valuable land in the hands of the state.
He said the party’s stance on land reform was that it was attainable without changing the constitution.
“The ANC government has failed the people of South Africa on land redistribution and now want to blame the constitution. I want our people to own land in their own right as individuals,” said Maimane.
DA MP Thomas Walters said land was currently a very politically contentious issue.
“The purpose of this resolution is to reaffirm that the DA has the answer to land reform.
“We have the right principles, and we want to tell South Africans of all backgrounds that we have the answer. The State expropriating land is not justice. We want people to own land,” he said.
The DA also outlined five plans it would implement should it be in power. They were:
- Diversify their own party
- Prevent land expropriation without compensation
- Drop VAT back down to 14%
- Job seekers can opt out of National Minimum Wage
- Cut the size of Cabinet and public sector bonuses
The party also elected new leaders during the conference.
Maimane was re-elected uncontested along with the party’s federal council chairman, James Selfe, who is also the head of the federal executive.
Athol Trollip defeated Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and DA Free State chairwoman Annelie Lotriet for the position of Federal Chairperson.
Dion George got the nod for the position of new federal finance chairman and Thomas Walters was re-elected as deputy chairman of the federal council.
The position of deputy federal chairmen went to Ivan Meyer as first deputy, Waters as second deputy and Refiloe Nt’sekhe as third deputy.