DA postpones Cape Town mayoral interviews 'over selection dispute'

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DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube. (Jan Gerber/News24)
DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube. (Jan Gerber/News24)
  • The DA Provincial Leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, incumbent Mayor Dan Plato, and the DA’s Member of Parliament Geordin Hill-Lewis have thrown their hats in the ring for mayor.
  • Party insiders say that there is currently a dispute on who should serve on the selection panel.
  • DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube told News24 an independent ombudsman was requested to oversee the mayoral selection process.

The DA has postponed its internal interview of who should stand as the party’s mayoral candidate for Cape Town.

According to party insiders the selection process of the panelists has not been finalised and a new process of the panel selection is underway. 

DA Provincial Leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, incumbent Mayor Dan Plato, and DA Member of Parliament Geordin Hill-Lewis have thrown their hats into the ring for the position of mayor.

Party insiders say that there is currently a dispute on who should serve on the selection panel.

Earlier this week News24 reported Plato had sent an internal letter to the council caucus outlining why he should be re-elected as mayor.

READ | Battle lines drawn as DA bigwigs vie for Cape mayoral chain

Plato told News24 he is aware of the party’s decision, “ I will await the new date as prescribed by FedEx [federal executive] once they have finalised the composition of the panelists,” he said. 

Madikizela said he was not happy when he heard of the party’s decision, “I was prepared for the interviews and I am a bit upset with the decision. I hope whatever technicalities involved are sorted out,” he said. 

Hill-Lewis said he trusted the party’s processes, “... although of course the delay is frustrating”, he said. 

Plato stepped in as Mayor after former Mayor Patricia de Lille was ousted after an acrimonious battle with the DA.

Plato has drawn sharp criticism from opposition parties after he was chosen by the DA to step in as a stand-in mayor.

ALSO READ | Let's sing from the same hymn book, says Madikizela as he plots to become next mayor of Cape Town

DA insiders said the party is split on whether Plato, Hill-Lewis, or Madikizela should be the next mayor. Party members claimed that the top structure of the DA are in favour of Hill-Lewis, and Plato does not have their backing.

DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube told News24 an independent ombudsman was requested to oversee the mayoral selection process. The party's Federal Executive agreed to appoint Werner Horn a member of the Fedex and deputy chairperson of the Federal Legal Commission as the independent ombudsman.

"When the province and the region elected their panel members, they submitted them to the office of the Federal Council Chair for approval. But it is referred to the ombudsman for adjudication. The province therefore submitted the full list of metro and provincial selection panel members to the ombudsman. The ombudsman ruled that the panel did not conform to the candidate nomination regulations in material respects. The metro region has disputed this ruling," she said.

Gwarube said the dispute has been sent to the Federal Legal Commission for adjudication.

"Because this dispute only arose late on Friday 9th April, it was not possible to properly adjudicate the dispute before the panel was due to sit on Monday.

"The adjudication of a dispute involves written submissions by both parties, as well as oral submissions if this is deemed necessary. As this involves a crucial party process, this has to follow the steps sequentially to get a credible and fair outcome.

It was therefore considered necessary to postpone the selection panel in order to allow for the adjudication of the dispute to be concluded."

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