Controversial DA MP in line for top job

2012-10-17 10:44

Controversial DA MP Masizole Mnqasela is set to challenge the DA’s federal chairperson Wilmot James for his position, the DA announced at a press conference in Johannesburg today.

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

Zille’s position is uncontested, which means that James’s position is the highest contested position in the party.

Chairperson of the federal council, James Selfe, who gets elected by the federal council and not by congress, will also face no contest.

His deputy, DA MP Natasha Michael, is stepping down, and DA Joburg councillor Thomas Walters and MP John Steenhuizen will be running for that position.

The fiercest contest will be for the three positions of deputy federal chairperson, which is contested by eight candidates.

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

Chairperson of the federal finance committee, MP Dion George, is set to be challenged by MP Alf Lees. This position is also set to be elected by federal council members.

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

Altogether 1 650 delegates are expected, but Krumbock said the congress, to be held in November in Boksburg, will consider whether to have congresses once 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.

He did, however, refuse to say how many members the party had, saying it’s an “internal” party matter.

He added that membership had tripled since 2009, but said votes really counted for the party.

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