Cape Town – The disciplinary hearing of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was postponed indefinitely after one of the Panel members, Pogiso Monchusi, decided to withdraw from the proceedings.
De Lille’s legal team had argued for panel members Pogiso Monchusi and Sheila Camerer to be removed.
De Lille’s party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said that Monchusi chose to withdraw even before any argument was presented by the Party, in what was clearly a decision to not unnecessarily risk a delay in proceedings at a future date.
“I am the accused here, and I want to make absolutely sure that I get a fair and open process and procedures that must be followed, and like we’ve done over the past two days we will remind the DA of where there are issues that we don’t agree with or where we feel the procedures need to be corrected,” De Lille said.
James Selfe, the chairperson of the DA federal executive, said there was no definite reason why Monchusi left the panel.
“He did not provide any reasons, but he believed that rather than cause any further delays in the proceedings, he was rather going to withdraw,” Selfe said.
The DA also noted in a statement that the withdrawal of the panel member is not the result of any wrongdoing.
“This should in no way be construed as an admission of any wrongdoing on the part of Adv Monchusi, as he made it clear that he was withdrawing solely to avoid any potential risk to the proceedings, subsequent to arguments being presented by Ms De Lille’s legal representative with regard to a recusal application,” the DA said in a statement.
A new third member of the Panel will have to be appointed and familiarise themselves with the proceedings before further argument can be presented.
De Lille has been accused by the DA of bringing the party into disrepute and sowing irreparable divisions in the City of Cape Town caucus. This came from corruption allegations made against De Lille in the Steenhuisen report, which was an internal party investigation into De Lille and led by DA MP John Steenhuisen.
Some of the allegations against De Lille include one where she pushed for a family friend to be appointed to the board of a municipal entity, and that she is prone to bullying councillors who do not agree with her, calling them “stupid”.
De Lille has demanded that the DA allow the disciplinary hearing against her to be open to the public, and has threatened to challenge the party in court should it remain closed.