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IT’S a three-horse race for the Democratic Alliance’s post of provincial leader in the run-up to the party’s Western Cape congress, with Sports and Recreation MEC Ivan Meyer leading the pack, according to party insiders.
Former Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and former Community Safety MEC Lennit Max are also expected to join the battle for the key position.
After almost eight years as the party’s provincial leader, Theuns Botha announced at a provincial conference in Worcester at the weekend that he would not be standing for re-election as party leader.
Botha, who is Health MEC, will continue to serve in other leadership capacities.
Meyer, who was born in Kuils River in 1962 and is also the party’s federal deputy chairman, didn’t waste any time formally announcing his candidacy a day after Botha pulled out.
In a statement Meyer, who previously served as Social Development MEC, said: “After extensive consultations with the leadership of the party I have resolved to stand as a candidate for provincial leader in the upcoming provincial congress to be held on October 13.
“Until such time I will continue to serve the party in my capacity as DA federal deputy chairperson.”
Meyer said the road was clear and he would mobilise the party structures. “I am ready to serve and lead the DA in the Western Cape,” he said.
A confident Max, who came second to Botha at the previous congress in 2010, said he was approached by members of the DA to make himself available.
“After careful consideration I have decided to avail myself as candidate for the Western Cape provincial leadership in October 2012 and will do so officially when nominations are requested,” said Max.
He said the fact that he lost out previously “has no effect whatsoever on my determination to be victorious in October”.
“I have proven myself as a person who grew up in poverty, had to leave school with only a Std 6 (Grade 8) because my parents couldn’t afford to keep me at school and work as farm labourer as well as a labourer on the railways,” said Max.
On what kind of person is required to lead the DA in the province, Max said it should be
someone who has an understanding of poverty.
“As a result I am confident that I have the determination, qualifications, people skills and my personality also resonates with the voters.”
Yesterday, Plato declined to comment when asked to confirm that he would be standing.
“I’ve got no comment at this stage. Maybe later, but not now,” said Plato.
Social Development MEC Albert Fritz has also been mentioned as a possible candidate, but he brushed aside the rumours, saying Meyer was in a better position to lead.
“I haven’t even thought about (entering the race). I was at the federal council on Saturday when Botha announced it and it was quite shocking for us. It’s open for all, but Dr Meyer has all the support at the moment,” said Fritz.
One senior party member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Botha’s announcement was “paving the way for Meyer”.
From now until the October congress there will be intense lobbying among the hopeful candidates, with the possibility of more candidates throwing their names into the hat.