DA congress agrees to contentious 'recall clause'

Federal Executive can give a public representative, after representations, 48 hours to resign

DA congress agrees to contentious 'recall clause'

The Democratic Alliance's Federal Congress has agreed to amend its constitution to include a "recall clause" for members of the party appointed or elected to executive posts.

The DA voted on the contentious issue around 10:30 on Sunday, with much of the informal debate prior to the congress revolving around the future of embattled Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

The DA has no other mechanisms to recall a person in an executive post if a motion of no confidence fails, hence the sponsoring of such a motion.

At least 12 speakers gave input into the heated topic, the vast majority of whom supported the DA's ability to make political decisions about its deployees.

They included Debbie Schäfer, and MPs Phumzile van Damme and Dean Macpherson.

This issue was different to legal or disciplinary reasons, as one does not have to do anything legally wrong to lose the confidence of his or her party, Schäfer argued.

Macpherson said it was possible that an individual who is elected into an executive post is acting in the interests outside the DA, and thus the party, to whom they are accountable, must be able to recall such a person.

Three speakers who raised objections said the subject of a recall must be given an opportunity to make representations in defence of their position, to which the congress agreed.

Some delegates sitting in the Western Cape provincial delegation, who initially booed the introduction of the clause, cheered at these suggestions.

Other key amendments included a 48-hour deadline to resign if the federal executive approves a recall.

Lastly, any such move in a city council for instance, like the City of Cape Town, would also need to be approved by the federal executive.

The congress ultimately decided in a final version that read:

"If a president, premier, mayor or any public representative elected or appointed into executive office in a DA government has lost the confidence of his or her caucus, the Federal Executive may, after giving him or her the opportunity to make representations to it, resolve to require him or her to resign from his or her office within 48 hours.

"Failure by that member to resign will lead to the cessation of his or her membership of the party.

"Any such vote of no confidence requires the leave of the federal executive before it is moved in the caucus."

The decision thus leaves De Lille's future hanging in the balance.

It remains to be seen whether the federal executive will have unilateral powers to remove her given her pending disciplinary process that is currently underway.

Amendments to the DA's constitution continued on Sunday.