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DA list: Defectors and a cop but no journalists (yet)

Phillip De Wet

The DA has released most of its list of election candidates for provincial and national spots. It features no journalists, but this could change.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has released the list of the party's candidates for provincial and national spots ahead of general elections later this year. (AFP)

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Democratic Alliance's list of candidates for this year's general elections, released on Saturday, were the blank spaces on the page.

Amid the 482 candidates for provincial and national spots were seven "confidential candidates" – three in the Western Cape, two in Gauteng and one each in the Eastern Cape and North West.

"This is not 20 questions," Zille said when asked to more closely identify the secret candidates and if any of them were journalists. "We are not giving hints."

The candidates' names would be released in good time before the elections, Zille said, as and when each had done what was needed. This, she said, could include asking that their names be removed from the list.

Some of the hidden candidates are high enough on the list to be assured positions after the elections, but not all are guaranteed jobs.

No journalists
Neither the party's national nor provincial lists featured the names of journalists Donwald Pressly or Brendan Boyle who were both suspended, according to their respective employers, for applying to be on the DA list.

On Friday, Independent newspaper said senior journalist Donwald Pressly had been suspended for allegedly applying to be on a political party's list of parliamentary candidates for the general election.

"Mr Pressly did this without informing his editor and while continuing to write news as well as opinion and analysis on the said political party without declaring his political intentions to our readers," group executive editor Karima Brown said.

Pressly is Business Report's Cape Town bureau chief.

Brown said if the allegation was true, it would constitute a breach of their editorial code of conduct, code of ethics and a breach of trust.

Pressly's attorney, Michael Bagraim, told the South African Press Association that his client had been honest about his political affiliation and had admitted belonging to the DA.

In November, Business Day reported that Sunday Times executive editor Brendan Boyle was suspended after allegedly applying to become a party MP.

It reported that Boyle sent his curriculum vitae, which was later withdrawn, to the party as part of his application.

Potential trouble
Zille said the party had had 1 432 such applications.

She explained that journalists could not be political party members.

"I agree that you can't be a member of a political party and a journalist," Zille told reporters. "I believe that being a member of a political party is incompatible with some professions."

In November, it was alleged that several journalists had submitted their names for DA parliamentary candidacy.

Not everyone who faces potential trouble for their involvement with the DA withheld their names. Among those high on the list are Brigadier Pule Thole, a serving member of the South African Police Service. Thole said he would be resigning from the police force in the near future but had not yet done so.

Also featured on the list, occasionally in high spots, are several ANC defectors, including newly minted ones. – Additional reporting by Sapa


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