Mon, 26 Oct 2020

DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela says there are some within the party wrestling with the politics of far right and far left ideologies.

This as the DA in the Western Cape is set to elect a new provincial leader in November and, so far, only Madikizela and Western Cape Legislature Speaker Masizole Mnqasela are in the running.

Madikizela told News24 on Wednesday the DA has always been a centrist party.

"To a certain extent, there are members who don't understand. We are supposed to be a centrist party and the concern I have is that [some] DA members are either on the extreme left or far right. You can't be in the DA and have EFF or Freedom Front Plus ideologies," he said.

READ | Strict rules for DA leadership campaigns as party takes hardline to avoid simmering divisions

Last year, Madikizela lost the battle for Western Cape Premier to Alan Winde, but he was appointed Transport and Public Works MEC.

Before then, Madikizela served as Human Settlements MEC under Helen Zille's premiership.

Asked about his new plans, should he be re-elected, Madikizela said that he had little time to implement his previous term's plans.

Plans

"This would be my second time standing. What we need to do now is implement the plans I had before we were interrupted. We had the very public issue with Patricia de Lille and others.

"For me, though, my goal is to grow the party. Before we do that, we need to stabilise the party, so that we can grow in difficult areas," Madikizela said.

Mnqasela is a surprise candidate.

In a video posted on Facebook, Mnqasela called on DA members to strengthen the province's leadership.

He said at the "right time" he will announce his candidature for leader of the DA.

"We need to build a better, stronger team of leaders that will work and carry us to the local government elections [next year] and take us to a programme beyond that."

"We have to be very careful, because right now we are going through a period of conferences... and conferences are very difficult. We need to unite this organisation through these conferences," he said.

READ ALSO | Mbali Ntuli does not want to lead the party, she wants to leave it - DA leaders

Mnqasela also called on DA members to be wary of factions and divisions.

"Our values and principles have been re-organised and have been re-emboldened in ensuring that all of us understand why we are in this organisation.

"I'd like to encourage all candidates to conduct a clean campaign. I also need to say to delegates as you choose the candidates of your choice, do so freely. Don't be intimidated," he said.

Before provinces start their elective conferences, the DA must first elect a permanent national leader.

Interim party leader John Steenhuisen and leadership hopeful Mbali Ntuli face off next month in the party's first virtual congress.

The run-up to the congress hasn't been without controversy as Ntuli has publicly challenged the party on several occasions.

More recently, Steenhuisen, in a letter to delegates, said the public squabbles will cost the party at next year's local government elections.

As the DA prepared for the congress, it also had to deal with the resignation of Gauteng leader John Moodey.

Moodey joins a growing list of former black DA leaders who have left the party in recent months.

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