New KZN DA leader elected

2015-04-25 15:01
Newly elected KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Newly elected KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Richards Bay - eThekwini DA councillor and caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango has been elected as the party's provincial leader for KwaZulu-Natal.

Mncwango, who hails from Nongoma, beat his opponent, Sizwe Mchunu, for the highly contested position by seven votes at the provincial congress on Saturday.

Hundreds of Democratic Alliance members and observers clad in blue and white t-shirts attended the congress to vote for their provincial leadership at the Zululand Chamber of Business Forum in Richards Bay.

The crowd of about 1 000 was addressed by Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane who shared the stage with federal chairperson Wilmot James.

Helen Zille was expected to address the congress but it was announced that the outgoing leader couldn't make it "for reasons beyond her control", said Mchunu.

Saturday was the first time that Maimane and James shared a stage together since they publicly declared their candidacy for the party's top position. The pair used the platform to sell their manifestos to win votes.

Delivering his address Maimane paid tribute to Helen Suzman and former DA leader Tony Leon.

"We cannot be a party of racists. We cannot mobilise on the basis of race. The DA is a party for everyone.

"I don’t agree with people who say I don’t see colour'. Because, if you don’t see that I’m black, then you don’t see me. But this doesn’t mean my skin colour defines me. If freedom means anything, it means being judged on the content of your character, not the colour of your skin," said Maimane.

He said: "The ANC's biggest crime is not [President Jacob Zuma's private homestead in] Nkandla. It's that they failed our children's education. Never and never again will it be allowed that a child who studied at Hilton College get a better education than a child from KwaMashu or Hluhluwe."

Addressing the gathering James said the DA needed to take a new direction and start addressing issues affecting the poor.

Shortly before ending his address he publicly challenged Maimane to a public debate on issues affecting the country.

"As the DA we need a new direction, at the moment we are not speaking for the poor... We must unite this party, build this party and raise it to win more votes, govern more municipalities and govern the country.

"I wish to challenge Mmusi Maimane to a national debate on issues about this country. I'm ready," said James.

Maimane accepted the challenge and confirmed that the first debate would take place next month. "I have nothing to fear, I'm ready," said Maimane.

When the results were announced, members of the DA carried Mncwango on their shoulders to the stage.

The new leader of the DA would be elected at the party's federal congress on May 9 and 10 in Nelson Mandela Bay. 

The new KZN DA Leadership:

Provincial leader - Zwakele Mncwango

Deputy provincial leader - Mergan Chetty

Provincial chairperson - Hannif Hoosen

First Deputy Chair - Tex Collins

Second Deputy Chair - Dianne Kohler Barnard

Third Deputy Chair - Shehana Gaibie

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  wilmot james

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