Two vie for DA federal chair

 

 

Two contenders are believed to be in the running to replace James Selfe as federal executive chairperson, one of the most senior positions in the Democratic Alliance.

Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip reportedly has the backing of party members close to DA leader Mmusi Maimane.

Senior party members have also indicated that MP Thomas Walters has put his hand up.

Nominations open later this month.

The federal executive chair steers the party’s most senior decision-making body and the position is seen as second only to the party’s leader in terms of its power and importance.

In June, Selfe announced he would be leaving the position after almost two decades to concentrate on heading the party’s governance unit. It was thought that the party needed more stability in and co-ordination between the municipalities, including the metros, in the Western Cape where it governs.

Trollip, who is the party’s federal chairperson, said he could not comment because it was an internal party matter. Walters would also not say whether he is interested in the job.

The DA’s parliamentary chief whip, John Steenhuisen, who was once thought to be in the running for the position, confirmed he was not interested. But he has yet to decide who he is backing. “I look forward to seeing who puts their names forward for that position and then I’ll decide who will enjoy my support,” he said

“It’s a very important position, which I think is going to be big shoes to fill. Mr Selfe has been in the job for about 20 years. The institutional memory and expertise that he brought to the position is unsurpassable. So, the [new] person is going to have to navigate a very difficult political environment.”

Steenhuisen added that the party must elect a federal executive chair who can motivate people to vote in the 2021 local government elections. These elections are particularly important for the party after this year’s general elections, which saw the DA lose support.

“The DA has a lot of work to do in restoring the faith of some voters who may have lost faith in the last elections,” he said. “This is in terms of winning over new votes and, of course, becoming an exciting home for the hundreds and thousands of South Africans who didn’t vote in the last election. So the work is cut out for them.”

Tensions in party leadership structures have simmered in recent months as the party moves closer to its elective conference planned for 2021.

Senior party leaders have quarrelled on social media, particular over issues of race and economic redress.

These online arguments could be seen as a collision between so-called traditional, white DA party officials and younger, black party members.

Even Maimane has not been untouched, with some in his party questioned his renting a house in Cape Town when he has access to parliamentary accommodation.

The queries indicate that not everyone is happy with him as party leader.

City Press reported that “Maimane has listed a Cape Town home valued at nearly R4-million in a parliamentary register, despite the fact that the home has never belonged to him”. The DA leader told Rapport that he rents the home from a friend. TimesLive reported that he said he had declared the property “because he believed he was required to do so” and that he rented the property because of concerns about safety at the parliamentary village.

Queries were reportedly sent to the party’s federal legal commission last year but no problem was found.

Given the party’s poor performance during the general elections in May and unhappiness with him by some the DA, Maimane could face a challenger for his position when it comes up again up for election.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.
Advertising

READ IT IN FULL: Ramaphosa’s address on the extension of...

This is the full address given by President Cyril Ramaphosa on April 9

Meet the doctor leading Africa’s fight to contain the coronavirus...

Dr Matshidiso Moeti’s father helped to eliminate smallpox. Now she’s leading Africa’s efforts against the coronavirus

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world