As the DA tries to woo voters with its promise of “One South Africa for all”, it faces the reality of criticism over the diversity of its leaders and office-bearers and whether they adequately reflect country’s demographics.
And in its quest to attract top talent from different sectors, it has selected a number of interesting figures it hopes to send to Parliament and provincial legislatures after this year’s general elections.
While the likes of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Natasha Mazzone, John Steenhuisen and Solly Msimanga were always expected to make it to the lists of nominees, the party documents also bear the names of some lesser known and unexpected people.
The chairperson of the party’s federal executive James Selfe said the party had picked “the best representatives to champion the need to build one South Africa for all”.
News24 takes a look at six interesting candidates who made it onto the DA’s lists heading to the polls on May 8.
DR ANELE MNGADI
Dr Anele Mngadi who sits comfortably at number 48 in the DA’s national list is a respected businesswoman.
City Press called her one of the most highly qualified academics with 11 qualifications.
Only one of two women in the running, Mngadi was considered for the position of chancellor at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Fellow academic and business trailblazer Dr Judy Dlamini was elected to the position.
You may know Mathew Cuthbert as the cousin of AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel.
Cuthbert gained attention when he publicly lambasted his cousin, calling Kriel’s comments disgusting.
During an interview on 702 in May last year, Kriel said that apartheid was not a crime against humanity.
Cuthbert has served as a councillor in Ekurhuleni and as a shadow mayoral committee member on economic development.
DA Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Renaldo Gouws is known for his often outspoken commentary on Twitter, his blog and YouTube channel. Gouws calls himself a “defender of common sense”. He recently won a by-elections in ward 2 in Port Elizabeth.
On his Twitter biography Gouws lists that he is also an industrial psychologist. Those years of psychology training may come in handy in the nervy and often clandestine world of politics.
Leon Schreiber is an academic and Senior Research Specialist at Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies.
He was named in the 2017 edition of The Mail and Guardian’s 200 young South Africans.
He is also the author of the book Coalition Country: South Africa After the ANC. The DA’s leaders probably already have his book on their nightstands.
DR MIMMY GONDWE
Dr Mimmy Gondwe also brings years of research and analytical expertise to the the DA’s talent pool. She is the former Parliamentary Researcher for the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings.
Former NFP chairperson Maliyakhe Shelembe is number 30 on the DA’s national list.
In 2016, Shelembe was suspended for allegedly not co-operating with the IFP-breakaway party’s forensic investigation.
The investigation was commissioned after the party was disqualified from participating in the municipal elections for failing to pay its deposit to the Independent Electoral Commission on time for the local elections.
Shelembe also served two terms as mayor of Umtshezi, according to the DA.
He is a former MP who has served a number of portfolio committees, including Human Settlements and Public Enterprises.
As the DA faces criticism from both ends of the political spectrum, will its mix of candidates be enough to convince the electorate in both its traditional base and among news voters?
Only time will tell, but Selfe is confident they have the right mix to cook up victory.
“We will not be side-tracked by racial nationalists, black or white, nor we will be deaf to the constitutional call that states South Africa belongs to all who live in it united in its democracy,” Selfe said on Saturday.
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