Getting its house in order and ensuring unity so that it can work towards gaining majorities across all municipalities going into the next election cycle was the key message as the Democratic Alliance in the Western Cape held its elective congress on Saturday.
Western Cape MEC for transport and public works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, has retained his position as the provincial leader of the Democractic Alliance (DA). Madikizela won a second term as leader following a hybrid elective congress, which was held on Saturday, 21 November.
Speaking after the vote, Madikizela said “we need a stable party” as the DA had focused on internal issues and “some things were unpleasant”.
Last weekend allegations surfaced that Madikizela had been implicated in a plot to assassinate his rival for the provincial leader post, speaker of the provincial parliament, Masizole Mnqasela.
On Friday chairperson of the DA’s federal council, Helen Zille, said an internal investigation had shown the allegation to be “totally untrue”.
Read in Daily Maverick: DA congress to go ahead after reports of assassination plot are scotched by party
The provincial congress was held in hybrid style with some delegates tuning in virtually, while others joined in at venues in Paarl, Laingsburg, Mossel Bay, Swellendam and the civic centres of Parow and Cape Town.
“From tomorrow, we must get on with our work,” said Madikizela in his acceptance speech.
He pointed to the party’s immediate goal: the next round of by-elections, scheduled for 9 December.
In the recent by-elections on 11 November, the party took a knock in support in the Western Cape, the only province it governs.
Read in Daily Maverick: Western Cape results: DA holds eight wards, but gets a wake-up call with dip in support
This will be Madikizela’s second term as provincial leader. He had been appointed acting provincial leader in February 2017, following the resignation of then leader, Patricia de Lille.
At the party’s provincial congress in October 2017, Madikizela was officially elected as Western Cape leader up until Saturday’s elective congress.
Madikizela has called on all provincial members to stand behind the new team, which includes:
- Deputy leader, MEC Albert Fritz;
- Provincial chairperson, National Council of Provinces member Jaco Londt;
- Provincial vice-chairpersons City of Cape Town Mayco members JP Smith and Grant Twigg, along with MP Geordin Lewis-Hill;
- Provincial finance chairperson MP Erik Marais;
- Additional members are Peter Helfrich, Carl Pophaim, Zimkhitha Sulelo and Lorraine Botha.
Madikizela said that after the December break, “we must hit the ground running” as the party geared up for the 2021 local government elections.
Throughout Saturday, DA leaders repeated the party’s aim to have control of all 30 municipalities in the Western Cape after the elections.
Madikizela said that “no matter what happens after this congress, we need to unite behind the elected leadership; put our differences aside and work towards uniting this party.
“We don’t have to agree on every issue… we don’t even have to like each other, but we must never forget what brought us together as a DA family.”
Party leader John Steenhuisen stressed the importance of the Western Cape as the only opposition-run province in the country.
He described the Western Cape as “a beacon of hope” when it comes to corruption in the ANC-led national government.
He said young people had more chances of completing their schooling and finding homes in the Western Province compared to the rest of the country. DM