DA Western Cape backs Maimane for party leader

2015-04-18 19:55
The newly-elected leadership team for the DA's Western Cape arm address the media following the party's provincial congress. (Paul Herman, News24)

The newly-elected leadership team for the DA's Western Cape arm address the media following the party's provincial congress. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - The newly-elected leadership team of the Democratic Alliance’s Western Cape branch has expressed its backing for Mmusi Maimane in his candidacy for party leader.

Just under 1 000 people, including delegates, party supporters and journalists, were present at His People’s Church in Goodwood, Cape Town for the DA’s Western Cape provincial congress on Saturday.

The Western Cape delegates of the party were due to vote in a new party leader for the province, as well as candidates for six other positions.

Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille won the position of DA Western Cape provincial leader with 69% of the vote, to her counterpart Lennit Max’s 31%.

Maimane, the DA’s current parliamentary leader, also addressed the sea of blue on Saturday in an early morning address, reaffirming his intent to run for party leader.

Maimane support

Speaking to the media following the reading of the provincial results, the newly-assembled Western Cape leadership team were quizzed by journalists on the topic of Maimane’s candidacy for party leader.

“I definitely will support Mmusi Maimane,” said DA Western Cape chairperson Anton Bredell.

“In the DA it’s a democratic process, so my colleagues will be allowed to decide which teams they will support after the closing of the candidates.

“But I believe Mmusi has the potential and the talent to be a fantastic national leader, to take over as national leader [from Helen Zille].

“I’ve got a challenge, and I will ask my colleagues to put up their hands: who will join me in supporting Mmusi Maimane?” he asked.

At that point, every member of the new DA Western Cape leadership put up their hands, seemingly surprising even themselves, much to the humour of everyone present.

“We will also convene a meeting with all our delegates going to the national congress in May, and we’ll invite Mmusi Maimane and all the candidates who must still be nominated to come and speak to the delegates and explain to us what they can offer,” De Lille added.

'Restore hope'

Earlier on Saturday, Maimane released a statement officially accepting the nomination to stand as the DA's leader, saying it is his chance to "restore hope" in the country's future.

"It has not been an easy decision," he said in a letter sent to the DA's public representatives on Saturday morning.

"I have thought long and hard about what it means for my young family. And I have had to consider whether the timing is right.

"In the end, I decided to accept this nomination because it is a unique opportunity to restore hope in the nation's future," he said.

‘Humbled’

De Lille, meanwhile, said she was humbled to be voted in as the party’s Western Cape head.

“Baie Dankie! Thank you very much!” De Lille said to a jubilant crowd after being named new party leader in the province.

“I’m very humbled by the confidence you’ve shown in me. As I stand here, I want to pay tribute to Helen Zille.

“Over nearly a decade now, Helen has done more than anyone else in this country to realign opposition politics.

“She has lead the DA to become the real fighting force that can offer a new path for our country. Thank you Helen.

“The WC is the heartland of the DA, and it’s going to stay that way,” she added.

Read more on:    da  |  patricia de lille  |  anton bredell  |  mmusi maimane  |  cape town  |  politics

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