DA’s Cape leader eyes CT mayoralty
Madikizela critical of delivery standards under ex-ally Plato
● Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has his sights set on the Cape Town mayoral chain, saying he could do better than incumbent Dan Plato.
Madikizela, a former ally of Plato, spoke frankly about falling service delivery standards in the city, in an interview with the Sunday Times this week.
He will go up against DA finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis and Plato for the mayoral office. Interviews for the position start tomorrow.
Madikizela said he had raised his concerns with Plato and will present some of them to the selection panel.
“I do not believe that we are maximising our potential as the city, despite many challenges that are beyond our control,” he said.
“But there are challenges that are within our control where we could do better. As I said, with my experience in government, provincial government, and with my experience in politics, having crisscrossed the province, I understand the dynamics.”
He said that some of the challenges facing the city had to do with the maintenance of infrastructure.
“We are starting to see potholes in some parts of the city, which was not the case before, and I believe that we can reprioritise our budget better to deal with those small things because local government is about that.
“We must be able to remove the refuse on time, we must be able to repair our roads on time, before they escalate to potholes. We must be able to provide better basic services, like water,” he said.
Madikizela, who has previously been overlooked for senior positions in the government, confirmed this week that he had fallen out with Plato.
Plato assumed the mayoral chain when Patricia de Lille was booted out of the DA. At the time, it was understood that Plato was favoured by Madikizela.
But the two have since fallen out, leading to Plato standing against a strong Madikizela ally, Grant Twigg, for the position of DA Cape metro chair — and defeating him.
Madikizela admitted that he and Plato no longer see eye-to-eye on the city, but he maintained that he has nothing personal against the mayor.
“The relationship that I have with my colleagues is based on principle. If you are not doing what I expect you to do then I will challenge you, so that is why I don’t have permanent friends and I don’t have permanent enemies in politics.
“I change a stance depending on what you do as a colleague. It is true that I supported him but obviously I am concerned about certain things that I think can be done better, and that is why I am challenging him.”
He said his candidacy for mayor had been a long time coming; colleagues had broached the issue with him a few years ago.
“Many people have been talking to me about this, even way before the 2019 national elections, especially when the caucus was divided. They thought it would do that caucus a lot of good if I could come to the city and unite the caucus.”
Madikizela said he did not think the time was right back then, especially because he had thrown his hat in the ring for the Western Cape premiership and lost to Alan Winde.
“I didn’t want it to appear as if I am a bad loser because I am not a bad loser, I accepted the outcome,” he said.
In the interview, he also weighed in on the matter of former party leader Tony Leon labelling another former DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, an “experiment gone wrong”. Madikizela said the comment would hurt the party.
The matter is so serious, he said, that he raised it at the party’s federal executive meeting. The controversy has divided opinions inside and outside the official opposition. Maimane himself said Leon’s comments were offensive. Leon has defended his statement.
“The implication of this thing and how people are likely to interpret it — because to call anyone an experiment, you can’t justify that kind of talking — it gives rise to a number of interpretations and narratives that I don’t think we need as a party,” said Madikizela.
“And we know that many people want us to fail as the DA. Many people are labelling us already and we are really moving against the tide here, and it’s important for us to focus on what’s important — to save South Africa.
“This really gives an opportunity to people who continue to plunge our country into chaos … these kind of statements are sideshows, which become a perfect excuse for these people to remain in power.”
We are starting to see potholes in some parts of the city, which was not the case before, and I believe that we can reprioritise our budget better to deal with those small things