Rank and file members of the DA have urged former parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko to throw her hat into the ring for the leadership of the party despite her declining to run for the post.
DA MPL in Kwa-ZuluNatal and Mazibuko confident Mbali Ntuli said party members had sent tweets and messages to Mazibuko calling for her return from the US where she had gone to study at Harvard University. She resigned last May after falling out with outgoing party leader Helen Zille.
“Many people are behind her. They have called her and even tweeted Lindiwe, asking her to come back,” Ntuli said. She confirmed her backing for Mazibuko’s candidacy for the DA top post and would put her name forward. Former DA leader Tony Leon said in a radio interview that there was never a perfect time to leave but seemed to suggest Zille should have alerted the party earlier about her stepping aside.
“Maybe with hindsight, she should have given more notice,” Leon said. He insisted that Zille’s exit paved the way for DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane to take over the leadership reins. Mazibuko yesterday ruled herself out of contention for the most powerful position in opposition politics.
“I wish to clarify that I will not be making myself available for election to any leadership post at the DA’s 2015 congress,” she said.
Ntuli insisted while race was not an important factor in selecting the party’s new leader, Mazibuko was an exceptional leader who even got recognition from opposition parties.
She said she often spoke to Mazibuko who might have been disadvantaged by Zille’s late announcement that she was stepping down as DA leader. Nominations for Zille’s replacement was extended by a few days for a new party leader to be elected at the party’s elective conference on May 9 in Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape.
“Mazibuko is doing fine in Harvard. Had the congress been at a later stage I am sure she would have been here,” Ntuli said.
Mazibuko, a former DA parliamentary leader, thanked the outgoing leader of the party and wished party leaders well during the party’s federal congress next month.
“I remain deeply and fundamentally committed to my country, South Africa, and to a life of public service. When the time is right, I will make myself available for whichever position I believe will enable me to best make a contribution towards building a better South Africa,” she said.
“That time, however, is not now,” she said. Another DA leader, Athol Trollip, was, however, less complimentary to Mazibuko and boldly declared that he would not support her for the party leadership.
“She let the party down and chose to go to Harvard. No one forced her to go to Harvard. It was her own choice. In politics things like these have consequences,” Trollip said. Both Trollip and DA MP Magashule Gana will contest the party chairperson post. “I believe we have enough leaders from the DA, being black should not be a determination,” Gana said.
Political analyst, Somadoda Fikeni believed that the DA was at a political crossroads and said that the party would face a challenge internally if the congress were to elect a black leader.
The party would also face tough questions from the public if they were seen to be in favour of white leadership. Fikeni said the options of black leadership that the DA had were young and eloquent, but inexperienced.
“They are doomed either way,” Fikeni said.
Article source: http://www.thenewage.co.za/156440-1011-53-Plea_to_Mazibuko_on_DA