DA ‘rebel’ Mnqasela up for vote

2012-10-18 00:00

OUTSPOKEN Democratic Alliance (DA) member of Parliament, Masizole Mnqasela, is set to challenge Wilmot James for the post of federal chairperson, the DA announced yesterday.

Mnqasela was accused by party leader Helen Zille of “Verwoerdian” tendencies during a heated campaign for the post of DA parliamentary caucus leader last year.

A supporter of then parliamentary leader Atholl Trollip, he claimed that Lindiwe Mazibuko was too inexperienced and not black enough to lead the DA in Parliament.

Mnqasela also accused Zille of displaying dictatorial tendencies by openly backing Mazibuko.

Trollip, meanwhile, will not be standing for any national leadership position, while Zille is set for another term as party leader, as her post is uncontested.

Federal council chairperson James Selfe, who is elected by the federal council and not by congress, is also unopposed.

His deputy, DA MP Natasha Michael, is stepping down, and the winner of a two-way race between DA Johannesburg councillor Thomas Walters and KZN MP, John Steenhuizen, will fill her post.

The fiercest contest will be for the three positions of deputy federal chairperson, which will be contested by nine members.

These are MPs Anchen Dreyer, Sandy Kalyan, Dianne Kohler-Barnard, Annelie Lotriet, Joe McGluwa and Stevens Mokgalapa, as well as Johannesburg councillors Makhashule Gana, party spokesperson Mmusi Maimane, and Western Cape MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela.

No nominations will be taken from the floor, and candidates will no longer be allowed to withdraw once the ballot papers are printed, federal congress convenor and presiding officer Greg Krumbock said.

A total of 1 650 delegates will gather in Boksburg for the congress in November. Among other issues on the table will be whether the party should hold congresses every three, instead of every two years. “This will allow us to have bigger congresses with 2 000 to 2 500 members. More of our members will be represented and this shows that we are a mass-based organisation now,” he said.

Krumbock declined to say how many paid-up members the DA had, saying it was an “internal” party matter. He said membership had tripled since 2009, but that it was the votes at the ballot box that really counted for the party.

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