​DA hopefuls in race to become Cape Town mayor

A list of Democratic Alliance hopefuls believes that they have what it takes to be mayor when current Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille vacates office at the end of October.

The DA’s nomination process has now closed, and some of the candidates who have applied for the mayor’s post are a few weeks from hearing if they’ve made the cut. Cape Town’s deputy mayor Ian Neilson confirmed to the Mail & Guardian that he has applied for the coveted job.

Neilson has served as deputy mayor to De Lille for the past seven years and was appointed acting mayor earlier this year after the party had attempted to terminate De Lille’s membership.

Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development Brett Herron has also confirmed his application, saying that he would focus on rebuilding trust in the city government.

“I have agreed to stand as a candidate for Mayor. Cape Town is a world class city. We must restore the trust and hope that our residents — and the world — has for our city, our government and our country,” Herron said.

Gauteng provincial legislature member Heinrich Volmink, Western Cape Parliament speaker Sharna Fernandez, and MEC for community safety Dan Plato are among those who are also vying for the top spot.

Volmink, a doctor who hails from District Six, said that although he now lives in Johannesburg, he still considers himself Capetonian. He told the Weekend Argus that he sought to improve governance in the city through enhancing infrastructure and service delivery. Speaking on District Six, Volmink said that social justice was at the root of the problems the area faces.

“The issue goes over generations and the impasse involves issues that go across all spheres of government. But the underlying issues of social inclusion and cohesion and social justice covers what we need to be looking at,” he told the Weekend Argus.

De Lille will leave the mayor’s office after she announced her resignation on August 5. Her decision to vacate office before the end of her term was precipitated by an ugly spat between her and the DA which saw the Cape Town caucus disintegrate into a factional battle between her supporters and critics.

READ MORE: Evidence in the De Lille dossier

The DA has said that it hopes to build unity in the caucus after De Lille leaves.

“This is an opportunity for the caucus to unite and to focus on its core business. That’s what we are focusing on now,” Portia Adams, the spokesperson to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, told the M&G shortly after De Lille resigned.

A shortlist of candidates will be interviewed by the party’s federal executive, who are set to decide on who will be the city’s next mayor by the end of September. 

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
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