Knives are out for Zille in DA

2012-08-11 15:52

DA lobbyists unhappy with party leader Helen Zille have hatched a long-term plot to topple her.

But they admit she’s safe for now because they need “brand Zille” for the 2014 general elections.

The lobbyists want to put up challengers to two of Zille’s right-hand men, federal executive chairman James Selfe and federal chairman Wilmot James, at the party’s congress in November.

They hope that having leaders in Zille’s inner circle sympathetic to them will lessen the chances of her simply “anointing” her successor come the party’s 2015 congress.

A lobbyist who did not want to be named said DA MP Athol Trollip, ousted as chairman of the parliamentary caucus by Lindiwe Mazibuko during bruising caucus mid-term elections last year, had been asked to oppose Selfe.

DA MP Masizole Mnqasela, who supported Trollip at this time, was set to challenge James, the lobbyist said. Trollip said: “I have had all sorts of approaches but I haven’t made up my mind yet”.

Mnqasela said: “If I am named I will accept but the process hasn’t started yet.”

He was recently forced by the party to apologise to Zille after a spat during the caucus elections campaign.

The challenge to Zille comes amid unhappiness about the way decisions are taken in the party.

An MP said some in the parliamentary caucus were unhappy that the DA’s jobs and growth plan, which was driven by James as the party’s policy head, wasn’t shown to them before it was launched.

These people had “boycotted” last month’s launch rally in Pretoria, the MP said.

Selfe said the committee responsible for organising the congress was set to meet this week to draw up plans, which would then be submitted to the federal executive committee in September.

He said the party had not yet decided when to open nominations for positions.

Zille confirmed that she would make herself available for re-election in November. “The context can change. New leadership may emerge that can potentially take the party further,” she said.

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