D-Day for  the DA

All eyes are on the DA today, which elects an interim leader and a chairperson, after the official opposition was rocked by the resignations of its top brass.

The election at the party’s headquarters, Nkululeko House, east of Johannesburg, is a culmination of weeks of internal strife caused by the fights over race and redress in the organisation’s policy formulation.

The race to replace Mmusi Maimane as party leader is between the DA’s new parliamentary head, John Steenhuisen, and its former youth leader Makashule Gana.

The position of the federal chairperson, which became vacant when former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip quit with Maimane, will be contested by Gauteng MPL Khume Ramulifho, Western Cape agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer, and Federal DA Women’s Network leader Nomafrench Mbombo.

The party has been divided on the issues of race, and redress is set to be at the centre of the battle for the powerful posts. Candidates will make a presentation to the delegates before voting begins.

Ramulifho – who is one of the proponents of redress in the party – said he would tell delegates he wants to ensure there is policy coordination and alignment, adding the party was in a predicament because it had failed to hold leaders accountable.

“This [failure to hold leaders accountable] must come to an end. We must hold each other accountable for the tasks as defined in our constitution and not focus on who is the person elected,” he said.

Gana, who is also pushing for redress, said the focus of his speech would be “the need to take
advantage of the moment to redefine ourselves, redefine our politics, build a fair society underpinned by economic, social and environmental justice”.

In his campaign message this week, Steenhuisen said the DA “must be at the centre of politics in South Africa with evidence- based solutions”.

By George Matlala

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