We all have a fundamental right to dignity.  It does not matter whether the Premier has rights under the labour laws or the principles of natural justice.  The Premier has a right to be heard in response to any averments.  There is no legal requirement for her to be ‘charged’ by the Democratic Alliance (DA) with anything, let alone to be sanctioned, if it is found that she infringed some rule or policy.  In other words it should never be the right or policy of the DA to punish anyone like Helen Zille.  Crimes require punishment by the State because they are anti-social.  Infringements of internal rules do not require punishment, but protection of the integrity of the organisation.  So just like labour law [Right to be heard: Avoid formal disciplinary hearings] alleged infringements should be properly investigated.

If it is genuinely believed that a person has infringed any rules or polices they should be provided with a written statement setting out the factual averments.  The person should be allowed to respond to the averments in writing or at a meeting.  There is no need for a ‘disciplinary inquiry’ with a ‘panel’ which smacks of a criminal-type procedure.  The word ‘sanction’ should also be avoided as it again suggests some form of right to punish persons other than in the context of criminal law.  Findings are needed regarding the averments and then corrective steps need to be take to prevent further infringements.  In other words the sole purpose of the exercise is to protect the integrity of the institution and not to punish anyone.

Date set for first step in possible Zille disciplinary inquiry: Posted on Polity.org.za yesterday.