DA talks up 'rich diversity' of 2019 election list candidates

2019-03-16 18:55
James Selfe. (Paul Herman/News24)

James Selfe. (Paul Herman/News24)

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The Democratic Alliance, which has been beset with controversies on matters of race in the run-up to the 2019 elections, says its lists of candidates for the National Assembly and provincial legsilatures, represents South Africa's "rich diversity".

DA federal executive chair James Selfe said the party nominated candidates most capable of carrying out the hopes of the people.

The party has, in the past, faced criticism over its inability to provide clear direction on its policies regarding diversity, race and black economic empowerment (BEE). In August last year, Gwen Ngwenya told News24 the party was ditching BEE as a policy, as it was "just not working".

However, just hours later Selfe contradicted Ngwenya, denying that the DA was doing away with BEE in favour of a broader economic policy.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has had to fight internal resistance from senior members who wanted to follow more classical liberal policies and exclude racial classification in its redress policies.

READ: ‘Shut up’: Mmusi Maimane puts his foot down on BEE debate

The party revealed its lists at its national headquarters in Bruma, east of Johannesburg, on Saturday afternoon.

The DA was the last of the country's three largest parties to release its lists ahead of the May 8 elections.

ANC and the EFF released their full lists earlier this week.

On Friday, Maimane said the party had taken longer to release its lists as some of the candidates featured were given time to inform their current employers.

He said some of the candidates were drawn from outside the party.

The party's national lists features many of its most high-profile figures, including Maimane, James Selfe, Natasha Mazzone, John Steenhuisen, former NPA prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach, ex-policy head Gwen Ngwenya and David Maynier.

Most of these also feature on the party's provincial list of candidates who have been selected to go to the National Assembly.

The national list also features newly-elected Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa.

Explaining Mokgalapa’s name on both the National Assembly and Gauteng legislature lists, Selfe said the new mayor had placed his name in the hat long before he was elected as mayor. 

Mokgalapa took over as Tshwane mayor after DA premier candidate for Gauteng Solly Msimanga resigned earlier this year.

"It's just one those things. Our systems work like that, he would have to make an application to withdraw and he didn’t put it in probably because he was too busy."

Selfe said Mokgalapa would retain his position as the mayor of Tshwane, however, "if he would resign as mayor of Tshwane he would then take up this position" on the lists.

The party has made it clear it's aiming to bring the ANC's national share of the vote below 60%, while also retaining the Western Cape.

It says it also wants to eat into the ANC's share of votes in the Northern Cape and Gauteng, to bring the governing party below 50% in both provinces.

"We want to grow in size, we want to bring down the government that has a dominant majority to a situation where they are unsure that they can possibly win the next election," DA leader Mike Moriarty said at the announcement.

Selfe said the criteria that was used to select candidates was that they needed to be rooted in the party, good community activists and must have special skills.

"Their position on the list was determined by a very rigorous process were everybody went through a selection panel at which they were obliged to give an account for themselves. Then they were scored, and their score determined their position on the list."

Two candidates were removed from the selection process and several appeals were heard during the selection process, he added. 

One candidate - who was not named - was removed after they were found to have damaged the party election campaign through social media posts.

The other, he said, refused to fill in an acceptance of nomination form. Outgoing Western Cape Premier Helen Zille who fell out of favour with Maimane was not included in any of the party lists. 

Selfe said Zille, the party's former leader, was campaigning for the party and she would announce after the elections what she intends to do in the future. 

Read more on:    da  |  politics
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