Madik­izela favourite to lead DA in prov­ince

En­joys back­ing of party’s lead­er­ship

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SOYISO MALITI

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.”

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE

Act­ing provin­cial leader Bonginkosi Madik­izela has the back­ing of top DA lead­ers to re­tain his po­si­tion.

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