Trollip drops controversial backer

2012-10-06 18:19

DA MP Athol Trollip has dropped one of his most vocal backers as hustling for top positions in the party gets into full swing.

Trollip is lobbying party spokesman Mmusi Maimane to team up with him at the party’s elective congress in Boksburg next month.

But in the process Trollip left controversial MP Masizole Mnqasela, who was hoping to be his running mate, out in the cold.

Maimane is set to make a bid to oust DA federal chairperson Wilmot James, who was elected by congress delegates in 2010.

This would give Trollip a boost in taking on chairman of the federal council James Selfe – a position elected by federal council members soon after congress.

A source close to Mnqasela this week said he felt betrayed, but he refused to comment.

Trollip was ousted as the party’s parliamentary leader by Lindiwe Mazibuko last year following a bruising mid-term caucus election.

Mnqasela was accused of using race to campaign against Mazibuko after saying on a radio show that listening to her was like listening to a white person speak.

Trollip, who made an unsuccessful bid for the DA’s leadership in 2007 against Zille, said “I haven’t made up my mind yet” about whether to stand or not.

But he said “there is a need to broaden the gene pool of leadership”.

Trollip refused to say who he would back, but said he believed Maimane has “exceptional talent” and would play a role in the party “for a long time to come”.

Mnqasela, however, is considered to be too “undiplomatic” to make the cut.

“Athol is smart enough to know if Masi(zole) was put up, he won’t win. There isn’t a strong enough ‘anything but Wilmot’ campaign,” an MP said.

He believed Maimane could take over the DA’s reins when party leader Helen Zille retires.

Some feel James is more of an academic than a leader and should be replaced.

Selfe has been in his position for 12 years but some believe it is time for a new person to learn the skills of effectively being the party’s administrator and monitor-in-chief.

Nominations for positions close next Monday (October 15).

Meanwhile the party’s most important province, Western Cape, is set to elect MEC Ivan Meyer as new provincial chair when it goes to its congress in Cape Town on Saturday.

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