Richards Bay – The Democratic Alliance in KwaZulu-Natal is now going to turn its focus to rural areas, newly-elected provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said on Saturday.
“Our focus now is 2016, I’m optimistic that we are going to take on all the opposition parties and our focus now is going to be in rural areas,” the eThekwini councillor and caucus leader said after he was elected at the provincial congress in Richards Bay.
Mncwango, who hails from Nongoma, beat his opponent, former provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu, by five votes, with 143 votes to 138. There were three spoilt votes.
He thanked all the delegates who voted for him.
“This has actually proven that there is democracy in the DA. It was a highly contested election but I am grateful to be taking the baton from a leader like Sizwe.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Sizwe, we have been very close and I have gotten know know him better over the years.”
He said the margins showed that he and Mchunu were “great leaders.”
“At the end of the day Zwakele didn’t win today, the DA won today,” he said adding that he had not made up his mind about the national leadership of the party, which will be decided at the federal congress on May 9 and 10 in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Mncwango said transformation was central to the party.
“In the DA we do not see each other on the basis of race… diversity is important but I can tell you now that we have the best leaders.”
He said there would be no reshuffling in KwaZulu-Natal.
“I made it clear during my campaign that I want to remain in eThekwini.”
He said going forward he was going to work on uniting the party.
Mchunu offered his congratulations to Mncwango.
“I welcome the results today and wish Zwakele all the best,” said Mchunu adding that he was not aggrieved and would remain a loyal member of the DA.
However he said his election campaign team had raised a concern about the congress.
“I have just been alerted by my election team that there are issues they are seeking clarity on and it is in regards to the congress, but at this moment I do not want to even raise the matter.”
Mchunu said the matter was being dealt with by the party.
“Going forward I’ve got to regroup and continue to build the DA. I was never in this for the position. I am still a loyal member of the DA,” said Mchunu.
Responding to Mchunu’s concern, Mncwango said, “There was an issue about SMSes that were sent to delegates after the cut off time for campaigning. They laid a complaint with the presiding officer and I was informed that the matter was resolved after we had apologised,” he said.