/ 25 October 2023

Hill-Lewis to run unopposed as DA Western Cape deputy leader

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Mayor of Cape Town Geordin Hill-Lewis. Photo: Supplied

City of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis will run uncontested for the deputy provincial leader position when the Democratic Alliance (DA) elects its new leaders in the Western Cape in November. 

Former provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela will go up against the current acting leader Tertuis Simmers, according to a party circular dated 24 October. 

In 2021, Madikizela resigned from both the provincial government and the party’s leadership structures after allegations emerged that he had lied about his qualifications.

Madikizela had, at the time, been considered a formidable player in the DA’s provincial politics — with backing from black supporters — but lost  favour with the dominant faction in the party.

Several DA leaders at the time told the Mail & Guardian 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 Hill-Lewis announced that he would run for the post. Although Madikizela had some sway in the party’s regions and the provincial executive committee, Hill-Lewis had the muscle of the DA’s strong faction in his corner, 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.

Party insiders said that although Madikizela had some support, the election of JP Smith as Cape Town chair was a strong signal that Simmers was likely to get elected as provincial leader. 

Simmers, who is supported by coloured voters in the province, is said to be favoured by Smith, who wields considerable influence in the metro. 

Meanwhile Johan Jaco Londt will run uncontested for the position of provincial chairperson. 

“This is really a decisive victory even before this conference begins.  People are going where the power goes and you can clearly see that contestation is concentrated  for additional members and most of them are from the same slate,” the insider said. 

“JP’s slate is called the sensible centre so they claim to be different from the right wing faction in the party. Londt is considered a rebel. He doesn’t really listen to the establishment and there are micro battles between him and JP.” 

Erik Marais will run uncontested for the finance chairperson position. 

Six party members have raised their hands for the provincial deputy chairperson position including Ricardo Mackenzie, Anroux Marais, Ndodekhaya Ngwane, Carl Pophaim, Antoinette Steyn and Zimkhitha Sulelo.