Cape Town – The DA leadership race will move up a gear on Tuesday as candidates meet head-on in Cape Town to persuade party representatives why they should be elected at the party’s Federal Congress.
Non-racialism, transforming the party to be more than just an opposition but a party of government, and creating a “unified” and “fully-funded” party are some of the key messages those running for leadership will put forward
at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting at the Civic Centre.
The meeting is for all Western Cape delegates who are running. The first of the meetings took place in Nelson Mandela Bay on Sunday, with Cape Town on Tuesday, followed by Johannesburg on Thursday and Durban on Friday.
The party will return to Nelson Mandela Bay on May 9 and 10 for its long-awaited Federal Congress, where the leadership will ultimately be decided.
While the campaigning will focus mainly on Mmusi Maimane and Wilmot James, who are competing to replace Helen Zille as the DA’s next Federal leader, dark horses Adrian Naidoo and Morgan Oliphant, who are ordinary members, are also gunning for the top position. The congress will also see another hotly contested race between Athol Trollip, Masizole Mnqasela and Makashule Gana for the position of Federal chairperson.
Maimane said when his turn came (on Thursday), his message would focus on the DA’s future and how to grow the party in a non-racial way.
“Our message will always be that we believe… in the future of the DA and it’s got to be better than where it comes from. We believe we want to grow this party to reach more voters. Our message is really about growth for a better tomorrow for the DA and a better tomorrow for South Africa. We’ve got to build a non-racial South Africa, and the DA’s project is a DA of non-racialism,” said Maimane.
James, whose mother died recently, will attend her funeral before heading to the Civic Centre. His campaign team released his mini-manifesto on Monday, titled “A New Direction”. It focuses on six pillars.
“Under my leadership we will be a principled party, a unified party, a growing party, a party of new ideas, a fully-funded party, and we will be a winning party so that we can realise the dream of 20 years ago,” said James.
James said he also had “a global network of funders who would “give the DA money to properly finance our election campaigns and organisation”.
Mnqasela lost out on the Federal chairmanship in 2012. “I’ve got undisputed experience. When I joined the DA I was the only black councillor. The crux of our message is that we are now a DA that is able to become a party of government and it becomes even more that we present ourselves as the true representatives of our people. Ordinary people must resonate with the organisation that is non-racial,” said Mnqasela.
Trollip said: “I believe and support our new leader, who I believe will be Maimane. I believe that I can complement his leadership. I’ve got more than 20 years in public office representing this party.
And much more important, I support him and I want to play a part in bringing back to this country the sense of non-racialism where everybody feels a part of South Africa.”
The party said a total of 21 nominations were received for the seven positions available. The DA has already elected new leadership in the Western Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.