To the strains of Tina Turner’s Simply the Best, balloons, confetti and champagne, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille was announced as the new leader of the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape on Saturday.
De Lille was elected as the new leader at the party’s provincial congress with 69% of the votes, beating lone contender Lennit Max, the former Western Cape police commissioner.
She immediately threw her weight behind candidate DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
The former Independent Democrats leader’s victory surprised few, as more than half of the 1 000 delegates seemed to be firmly in her corner, some wearing her campaign T-shirts, while others chanted her name in the build-up to the announcement.
De Lille paid tribute to outgoing leader Ivan Meyer and Helen Zille in her acceptance speech, and said she was humbled by the confidence shown in her by the delegates.
She said the Western Cape was the heartland of the DA and it was going to stay that way.
“Over the next couple of months, we need to develop a strategy on how to make this blue machine unstoppable, so that we can govern all 30 municipalities after 2015. We need to start in those municipalities where the African National Congress is currently governing; then we go to the municipalities where we are governing in coalition, because we don’t want to waste out time on coalitions anymore. We want to govern the DA way.”
De Lille said now that the election was over, they would not stop until the DA reigned supreme in the Western Cape.
“We cannot rest until every single municipality in this province is under the control and the government of the DA. And I believe the strength we have in the unstoppable blue machine will be able to do that. I hope I can count on the support of all structures as we continue to build this party and the province.”
She said she had known in her gut that she would be successful after receiving messages of support from delegates throughout the day.
De Lille threw her weight behind Maimane after provincial chairperson Anton Bredell asked the new leadership to indicate, by show of hands, if they would support the parliamentary leader.
An excited Bonginkosi Madikizela, who campaigned alongside De Lille, won the post of deputy provincial leader, beating Theuns Botha.
Wearing a white linen suit, with a blue fedora-style hat and blue suede shoes, Madikizela started his victory dance before the announcements and once he was named as deputy, his followers carried him up the stage to take his seat among the new leadership.
Madikizela said that unlike De Lille, he had been unsure if he would win, and had just tried to remain positive throughout the day.
Former provincial leader Meyer, after a 25 minute speech in which he described his dreams for the future of the party, announced he would be running for the post of federal deputy chairperson in the elective congress in May. He said Zille had created a good story and the time had now come to create a great story in 2019.