/ 28 April 2021

Madikizela resigns as DA’s Western Cape leader

Safrica Politics Land Expropriation
Bonginkosi Madikizela has resigned as provincial party leader. He is yet to announce whether he intends to continue campaigning for the position of Cape Town mayor. (Photo by Rodger Bosch/AFP)

The Western Cape’s Democratic Alliance leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, has resigned as provincial party leader after it was alleged that he lied about his qualifications. The party said in a statement that he had tendered his resignation on Wednesday, and thanked Madikizela for his service since his election to the post in 2018. 

Madikizela is yet to announce whether he intends to continue campaigning for the position of Cape Town mayor. 

He was suspended as Western Cape transport MEC and party leader on 15 April after a report by the Daily Maverick pointed to inaccuracies in his qualification. 

Madikizela has called the report on his qualification part of a political plot to discredit him and sabotage his campaign to become Cape Town’s mayor. 

“The idea of having someone they can’t control or look after their interests terrified them. This is what I go through every time I contest for a position in the party or in government. I will humble myself, allow the process to unfold and accept the punishment which I hope will fit the crime. 

“As wrong as this was, I didn’t pretend to be a doctor and performed surgeries that put people’s lives in danger or an engineer that built bridges that will collapse and kill people. A degree was never a requirement in all the positions I’ve occupied before and now; this never benefited me in any way. I also hope people will not apply double standards. What is done on the left must also be done on the right,” he wrote on social media platforms.

The Mail & Guardian had previously reported how Madikizela had lost favour with the dominant faction in the DA. 

Several DA leaders told M&G that Madikizela had been promised the position of Cape Town mayor if he would not stand against John Steenhuisen for the position of interim party leader.  

Madikizela’s chances of becoming the mayor were weakened when Geordin Hill-Lewis announced that he would run for mayor.

Although Madikizela had some sway in the regions and the provincial executive committee, Hill-Lewis has the muscle of the DA’s strong faction, including federal council chair Helen Zille. 

Hill-Lewis was once Zille’s chief of staff before taking the same position in former DA national leader Mmusi Maimane’s administration. He was also part of the clique of party leaders opposed to Maimane’s leadership before his watershed exit.

“We respect his [Madikizela’s] decision and the honourable route he has taken by stepping down as leader. This shows the clear difference between the DA and the ANC. We look forward to working with him as a colleague in the DA going forward,” the party said in its statement, adding that Albert Fritz would remain the acting provincial leader until the party elected an interim leader at its provincial council on 29 May.