DA to elect new Western Cape leaders amid party tensions

2017-10-07 07:28
DA. (AFP)

DA. (AFP)

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We need to deal with the workings of the party - Maimane on DA suspensions in CT

2017-10-04 15:35

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the aim of the party is to focus on issues and make sure the Cape Town caucus works as a collective, following the brief suspension of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member JP Smith.WATCH

Cape Town - Two candidates will go into the DA's Western Cape congress this weekend looking to convince party delegates that they can quell the brewing storm of internal battles in the party.

It could not have been a worse time for the DA to host its provincial congress, after a week that saw Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and mayoral committee member JP Smith square off against each other publicly.

They have both been placed on special party leave pending an investigation into de Lille's alleged decision to shut down the city's special investigations unit.

READ MORE: De Lille and Smith placed on special leave over spat - DA

Added to that, Cape Town mayoral committee member Anda Ntsodo was disqualified from competing for the post of provincial leader this week after a technicality was raised by acting leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, himself a candidate for the top job.

Ntsodo's candidacy was ruled ineligible after he withdrew his nomination for the post on the day of its closure to only retract the withdrawal after the deadline had passed.

The party's two most recent former provincial leaders, De Lille and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, will not be attending either.

Madikizela vs Max

Nonetheless, DA members from around the province will cast their votes at Saturday's congress in Cape Town to elect members to 11 posts on the party's provincial executive.

Madikizela will be running against veteran DA MPL Lennit Max for provincial leader.

Max will be competing for the fourth time for the top job, having lost most recently to De Lille at the party's elective conference in April 2015.

Madikizela, who has been acting in the position left vacant by De Lille since January, told News24 that his goal was uniting the party, and that he was best placed to take the province forward after 10 years as a party member.

Max has positioned himself as the charismatic choice and man of the people, and an alternative to Madikizela's more established claim.

Current provincial chairperson Anton Bredell will stand for re-election against cultural affairs MEC Anroux Marais.

Smith, although on special leave, is still eligible to run against nine others for one of three Western Cape deputy chairperson posts.

DA federal council chairperson James Selfe told News24 on Friday that the conditions of Smith's special leave only preclude him from attending party events and do not affect his membership.

'We haven't been found guilty of anything'

He can therefore cast a vote too, but will have to do so before the event starts.

"Yes, I'm still allowed to run, I'm just not able to attend," Smith told News24.

"We're not allowed to be deprived of our candidacy as we haven't been found guilty of anything. So I'm still a candidate."

Registration will take place at 09:00 on Saturday in Goodwood and the results are expected to be announced around 16:00.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane will be the keynote speaker.

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Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  helen zille  |  patricia de lille  |  jp smith  |  cape town  |  politics

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