DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela expressed his support for DA interim leader John Steenhuisen to become the party's federal leader in May.
Madikizela earlier this year still considered running for the position himself, and last year he initially challenged Steenhuisen and Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana for the position of interim leader, but withdrew before the election in November.
Steenhuisen is up against KwaZulu-Natal MPL and former youth leader Mbali Ntuli and Gauteng provincial leader John Moodey.
Steenhuisen campaign insiders see Madikizela's support as a major boost for the campaign, as it means six of the nine provincial leaders backs Steenhuisen.
The Eastern Cape's Nqaba Bhanga, Limpopo's Jacques Smalle, North West's Joe McGluwa, Mphumalanga's Jane Sithole and the Northern Cape's Andrew Louw all expressed their support for Steenhuisen, with KwaZulu-Natal leader Zwakele Mncwango backing Ntuli. Western Cape premier Alan Winde has also publicly expressed his support for Steenhuisen.
'Get back on track'
In a statement circulated in the Western Cape DA structures, Madikizela said: "Our party suffered a setback in the 2019 elections where we lost votes for the first time since 1994. We needed to stabilise the party and get the train back on track, this must be done by having a coherent message about who we are and what we stand for."
He said they must learn from their mistakes and not repeat them.
"One of those mistakes was to try to be everything to everyone in order to appease everyone, that doesn't work in politics and in general. We need to stick to our principles and values."
He said he has listened to all the candidates, whom he all knows well.
"So I do not only listen to what they are promising but whether they are capable of delivering on their manifestos."
He said the qualities he looks for in a leader is a clear vision for our party, loyalty, honesty, integrity, empathy, political maturity, emotional intelligence, tolerance, humility and consistency.
"The person I'll be supporting has most of these attributes. He's the only person who called and communicated with me consistently asking for my support. That makes me feel valued as a Leader and a voter at the upcoming elective congress.
"I have decided to support John Steenhuisen as the federal leader."
He said since taking the reins as interim leader, Steenhuisen has "worked tirelessly to stabilise the party and get us focused on the right path".
"I think he must be given a chance to continue in this role and will be giving him my full support in the run-up to the elective congress in May."