No challenge for Zille, but race is on for other top DA jobs

2015-03-15 21:05


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Johannesburg - DA leader Helen Zille will once again run uncontested for her position, as she has done since taking over the party in 2007, City Press reports.

But horse trading for other top DA jobs started in earnest last week as nominations for the party’s elections opened.

The DA federal congress will be held on 10 May in Port Elizabeth.

The position of federal chairperson is up for grabs after Wilmot James announced he would be stepping down.

Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip could put his hand up for the position to try for a federal comeback – after he was voted out as parliamentary caucus leader in 2011.

“I am a mayoral candidate for the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. I have moved from East London to Port Elizabeth to focus on that, so that’s one of the things I have to consider,” he said. “One doesn’t want to contest elections just for the sake of it, so I’m busy with some high-level consulting.”

DA MPL Masizole Mnqasela, who previously made a run for the position, is said to be interested as well.

Mnqasela, however, is said to have been upset by Trollip’s possible contestation because he had considered Trollip an ally.

A source close to Mnqasela said race was a concern. “If Trollip stands and succeeds, the party will become a white party.”

Mnqasela would only say that he could be making an announcement about his plans last week.

The party’s Western Cape leader, Ivan Meyer, who is stepping down from that position at the provincial congress on 18 April, is also rumoured to be considering a run for federal chair.

Meyer told City Press: “I will consider my options after the Western Cape provincial congress. I want to do wide consultations first before I take a final decision.”

A source close to the DA speculated that, should Trollip be elected, he would smooth the way for parliamentary caucus leader Mmusi Maimane’s election as leader when the DA had another congress in two to three years’ time.

Another source, though, speculated that Trollip didn’t have sufficient support and Maimane’s support didn’t reach widely enough beyond Parliament to get Trollip elected in the first place.

Maimane, one of the party’s three deputy federal chairs, did not want to comment on whether he was running again this year.

Another deputy federal chair, Makashule Gana, confirmed he would be running again, while the third deputy federal chair, Anchen Dreyer, is said to be interested too.

Dreyer couldn’t be reached for comment.

DA MP James Selfe confirmed he would be running for federal council chairperson, which will possibly be uncontested again.

This is a very powerful position because it involves heading administration and also dealing with politics in the party.

A DA leader who was opposed to Zille’s leadership said everyone agreed she should run unopposed, so as not to “destabilise” the party ahead of the 2016 elections.

“She is the best person to lead us into the elections,” he said.

Nominations close on 20 April.

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