DA ‘a government in waiting’

2012-11-24 20:10

Racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes and people who yearn for apartheid have no place in the DA, according to the party’s leader, Helen Zille.

She said: “It is a South African party, for all the people, united in pursuit of a better life for everyone.” Her remarks were greeted by loud applause at the party’s federal congress in Boksburg, east of Joburg, yesterday.

The party’s elective congress, at which Zille was nominated unanimously for another term, comes at a time when the DA is working more closely with other opposition parties in Parliament.

It is also trying to lure members from other parties, including the ANC, following a recent announcement by former Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela that she had left Cope for the DA.

Zille, who danced considerably less on stage this time than she has at previous DA events, told journalists after her speech that Balindlela had been appointed as constituency director, a position which will be paid for by the party.

Party spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said since Balindlela announced her move last week, his inbox had been “inundated by senior leaders in different organisations who have requested to meet with me and are inclined to move with the DA and be part of the DA”.

The party’s growth is also reflected in its budget which, at R131 million for next year, has doubled since its last congress in 2010.

An additional R65 million was budgeted last year for the elections.

The finances are set to be tabled in congress today.

Maimane’s speech earlier in the day was one of the most talked about by delegates.

As he started his speech, some DA delegates said he sounded like US president Barack Obama, who is famous for his inspirational speeches.

Maimane said the DA was no longer an opposition party, but “a government in waiting”.

A motion by MP Masizole Mnqasela to create a new position of deputy leader to “assist” Zille was overwhelmingly rejected late yesterday amid arguments that it would divide the party and amount to a vote of no confidence in Zille’s leadership.

The rejection bodes badly for Mnqasela’s bid to challenge incumbent Wilmot James for the position of federal chairperson.

Elections are set to take place today.

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