Madikizela favourite to lead DA in province
Enjoys backing of party’s leadership
ACTING DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela enjoys the backing of the party’s hierarchy, and is widely expected to be confirmed as Western Cape leader with a large majorfity at today’s elective congress.
Madikizela and Lennit Max are vying for the top spot in the Western Cape, while MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz is contending with Masizole Mnqasela for the deputy chairperson position.
Anda Ntsodo’s challenge for the position of party leader was withdrawn.
MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell and MEC for Cultural Affairs Anroux Marais go head-to-head for the provincial chairperson position.
Ten candidates are vying for the deputy chairperson position.
Dion George, James Hamilton and Andricus van Der Westhuizen are contesting for the post of provincial chairperson of finance.
DA leaders told Weekend Argus they had lobbied for Madikizela, Fritz and Bredell to triumph at the congress. The consensus among “many members” is that Fritz will be elected deputy leader and Bredell as chairperson, a DA source said.
“But one can never predict what will happen. Only the actual vote will tell,” the source said.
Placed on special leave this week amid internal squabbles, Smith and mayor Patricia De Lille will cast special votes and will not attend the congress.
Grant Twigg, recently elected as Metro chairperson, said Madikizela would “deliver the DA’s mandate”.
He said while Max was his friend, “friendship and leadership are two different things; I want the best candidate to lead the party”.
“I support JP as deputy because everyone knows his work ethic,”Twigg said.
“I have had several robust disagreements with him, but that’s the nature of the DA.
“We argue to learn about one another and the situations we face,” he said.
“I support people that I know are strong and can make the party even stronger in the province, without fear of becoming unpopular.”
Another top DA leader, who backs Madikizela, said: “I pray Bonginkosi wins. He’s a much better candidate than Lennit Max. Bonginkosi works all year-round,” the leader said.
He said Madikizela was unifying and rejected any kind of racial mobilisation”.
Madikizela is adamant the De Lille and Smith debacle will not have an impact on today’s congress.
Asked what he had done in his capacity as acting leader, Madikizela said: “Nine months is not a very long time to make a significant impact, I had to hit the ground running and restore party values and morale which was very low.” DA MP Beverley Schäfer said it was of utmost importance that the elected DA leader united the party as it focused on 2019. She said other than Madikizela there was no better-suited can- didate to carry this mandate.
“I’m definitely team Bongi. He’s a bridger of diversity. He knows how to bring people together. He is not into factionalism.”
Schäfer said the party didn’t need the De Lille and Smith drama that broke in the course of the week. “The party has a bigger vision than factionalism. We need to put our differences aside as we march to 2019.”
On DA leaders punting his name for the position, Madikizela said: “I have travelled across the province, listened to our members and they believe in me. I believe in them as well and I know they will make the right decision to vote me as their leader.”
Madikizela said he hoped his running mate Fritz wins. “I’ve worked with him for years and we complement each other,” Max said. Max said he had been nominated by the branches because leaders tended to disappear after congress.
“This is one of the complaints I received from structures about the current leadership who subsided subsequent to be elected into leadership in May 2015. “The structures felt neglected and marginalised by the current leadership.”
Acting provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has the backing of top DA leaders to retain his position.