Court grants DA the right to say it did fire Patricia de Lille from the party
Electoral court rules that DA claim is free speech
The DA can now freely say it "fired" public works minister Patricia de Lille from the party after it successfully challenged an IEC decision which said the claim was false.
In the lead-up to the May 8 general elections, De Lille got a favourable ruling from the IEC which found that the party’s comments that it had fired her were false, and instructed the DA to apologise.
After challenging the decision, the DA won. De Lille was formerly the DA's Cape Town mayor and DA leader in the Western Cape. She quit/was fired from the party late last year, after a long battle with her colleagues who wanted her out of the job, and started her new party called Good.
De Lille was last month appointed a minister by President Cyril Ramaphosa after Good scored two parliamentary seats.
DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said on Friday that the DA welcomed the decision of the Electoral Court.
"The Electoral Court found that the IEC had no power or authority to adjudicate this matter, nor did it have the power to issue remedial action. Further to this, the judgement found that the statement was permissible in terms of free speech and therefore did not have any bearing on the outcome of the election itself," said Selfe.
He said the ruling set an important precedent for the future conduct of the IEC.
"Throughout the election period, the IEC conducted itself in an inconsistent and lethargic manner when dealing with complaints brought to its attention, despite prima facie evidence of violations of the code of conduct by political parties.
"The IEC's primary mandate is to ensure free and fair elections. It is therefore essential that the commission at all times ensures that it conducts its business without fear or favour and is careful not to allow itself to be used as a political football or to be perceived to be partial," said Selfe.