The Democratic Alliance’s Western Cape premier candidate says outgoing Premier Helen Zille’s leadership is a tough act to follow, but says he is his own man.
If the party retains its majority in the provincial legislature after the May 8 elections, Alan Winde will succeed Zille.
She is the first and so far only person in the province’s history to complete two full terms as the resident of Leeuwenhof, the premier’s official Cape Town residence.
“It’s obviously big shoes to fill. If you look at her record, she’s the most successful premier in the whole of South Africa for the last 10 years. It has been amazing working with her. But I do things differently, and maybe that is what we need,” Winde said.
In September, in a tightly contested internal race, the DA selected Winde as the premier candidate.
Prospective premier hopefuls were vetted and interviewed by a 20-member selection panel made up of federal executive members and provincial executive members.
At the time it was even suggested that DA leader Mmusi Maimane would also throw his name into the ring.
Winde pipped current DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and DA MP David Maynier to the post— a decision that raised questions about why the DA would choose the community safety MEC over the party’s provincial head.
The race to Leeuwenhof is tough and hard fought.-
The ANC believes it is gaining traction based on support for President Cyril Ramaphosa. Former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s new Good party says it is making inroads — particularly in coloured communities.
De Lille was still a popular politician in the city at the time of her resignation from the DA after months of tit-for-tat mudslinging. This was evident in the well-attended public meetings she held in her last weeks as mayor.
Winde is concerned that a collective effort by opposition parties could unseat the DA as the provincial government. His party is campaigning on a ticket of warning voters of a possible ANC and Economic Freedom Fighters coalition. There could also bean alliance between the ANC and the Good party.
“Everyone wants a slice of the pie. I really need to get 50%plus one. I have no doubt that will give us a better government and better outcomes,” Winde said. “Everyone is talking about coalition governments, but if you look at municipalities, it is the coalitions that are battling. If you have a majority, then you can do things. And that is my message.”
Winde said he was disappointed that the ANC has not put forward a premier candidate for the provincial polls. The ANC has chosen Ramaphosa to be the face of their campaign in the Western Cape,saying it will decide on a premier candidate after the elections.
Winde said voters want to know who they are voting for.“Politics is about asking people to trust you with their vote. Surely that should be the leadership team that you want to vote for. People want to know what are your plans and how you are going to roll them out. And what the weaknesses are of that leader. So I think they’re missing the boat,” he said.
The province is known as a constituency where high-profile politician soften succeed in gaining voters’ attention. But Winde is not bothered by being labelled a relative political unknown among the Cape’s voters. He has been active in the provincial executive for the past decade, and in the legislature for longer.
He has also served as MEC of finance, economic development and tourism and was the party’s spokesperson on environment and planning.
“I’ve been in government for a while. I do have my uniqueness. But I don’t see myself as one of those character politicians,” Winde said. “I’m more tech-savvy and get down and do the job.
“Of course, politics isn’t always about that. But I think it’s about track record and I have my own track record. And I want voters to judge me on the track record of the other candidates.”