DA's Mnqasela confident of chair victory
While some Democratic Alliance members have laughed off and dismissed controversial MP Masizole Mnqasela’s candidacy for the party’s federal chairmanship, Mnqasela is confident of victory.
“It’s a campaign I’ll go into with my gloves off and I’m going to give it my all. It’s not going to be a dirty campaign,” he told journalists on Thursday.
Mnqasela is challenging the party’s policy guru, Wilmot James for the position.
“I’ve been an activist all my life. It’s nothing new for me to lead but also I’ve been led in many respects throughout this process.”
Last year, DA leader Helen Zille denounced Mnqasela’s views as “Verwoerdian thinking” after he campaigned against Lindiwe Mazibuko as the party’s parliamentary leader, claiming she was not yet ready for the job. Mnqasela, in return accused Zille for running the party like a spaza shop.
Mnqasela said the one thing he was bringing to the campaign and to the position once elected “because I will win” is a changed approach of engaging those that are supposedly supporters of the organisation and subsequently the voters of the organisation.
"I’m not going to continue in the normal trend. I need to find a way that makes the DA an activist DA. And to become an activist DA means we need to ensure that we become more and more relevant to people,” said Mnqasela.
He said people needed to see something more sexy and romantic about the DA.
“Our message, our approach and how we package the message is going to be in the manner that will make people understand what we are saying.”
He said statistics and formulas that are presented to people and being technical and philosophical about the programme of action of the organisation is not going to yield the desired results.
“We’ll simple be talking to a particular sector of the voters and the voting base that we aspire to reach is mainly people who are sitting at home worried about their next meal. Imagine sitting at home not knowing what are you going to eat in the evening and then you get a political party that is not seemingly relevant to you.”
Mnqasela has also lined up a few proposed changes to the party structure and to its processes. He will present these at the congress scheduled for November 24 and 25 in Johannesburg.
Among them is proposing that the term of office for leaders be extended. Currently, leaders are elected every two years.
“It also puts us in an unnecessary strain because you have to worry about who must be elected next; hence now Helen Zille is going there unopposed. It is because we have seen that lot of the work has been done, but there’s still a lot to do.”
Mnqasela would also want a new position of a deputy leader to be created.
He said while a deputy leader would not automatically take over from the leader, this position together with the existing ones would encourage a second layer leadership.
“Looking at the situation as it is, we need to thread very carefully to say, if Helen Zille goes; within the organisation who can become the next leader?”
“If Zille had not made herself available when Tony Leon left, we would have struggled to find a leader in the DA,” said Mnqasela.