If the DA is going to ensure it doesn't go into a state of decline, it is going to need strong leadership, writes Dirk Kotzé.
This weekend the DA's Federal Congress elects a new leadership group of nine positions. Four of them are uncontested. A vote has to be taken on the Federal Leader, two Deputy Federal Chairs and the Federal Council Chairperson. John Steenhuisen stands against Mbali Ntuli for Federal Leader and Mike Moriarity against Helen Zille as Federal Council Chairperson. Ivan Meyer's candidacy as Federal Chairperson is, however, not contested.
This paints a picture of a situation with mixed messages. On the one hand, it does not present a party in turmoil, because almost half of the positions are not contested. In a volatile situation, high levels of contestation for the leadership positions could be expected. Intense campaigning between the camps of the candidates would happen. But on the other hand, the two key positions (i.e. Federal Leader and Federal Council Chair) are certainly contested. In both cases the candidates present very divergent outlooks for these positions, and their outcome will determine the party's foreseeable future.