Cape Town - ACDP Western Cape leader Ferlon Christians is heading to the provincial legislature to take up the party’s only seat in the Western Cape government following the May 7 polls, in which the ACDP won just 1.17 percent of the votes.

Making the announcement on Wednesday, the party said Christians would swop roles with Grant Haskin, who has served in the provincial legislature since 2012.

The ACDP’s provincial executive committee unanimously made the decision to place Christians, its premier candidate for the province, in the legislature.

But party insiders said on Wednesday that while the decision might have been unanimous, the same could not be said about the ACDPs earlier candidate list process.

Several ACDP members claimed Haskin was the preferred number one candidate for the party, but had stepped aside, taking the second slot on the party’s list.

On Wednesday, the ACDP pair put up a united front and, despite the political demotion, Haskin said he was upbeat about the prospects of leading the ACDP caucus in the city in which he previously served as deputy mayor.

“I’m eager to tackle the issues at local government level while focusing on rebuilding and strengthening the ACDP,” he said.

And the ACDP believes that the only reason it has retained its seat in the legislature is because it was “God’s intervention”.

“We are not in here because of our hard work; because of the money we’ve thrown in; the intensity of our campaign or the brilliance of our people, we’re here in the legislature with a seat for the next five years because of God’s intervention,” Haskin said.

In a speech, Christians said that as a Bonteheuwel boy he had dreamt of being a politician. “I believe with my heart that I can make a difference.”

Christians added that he needed to be in the legislature to “give political direction” to the party.

Calling Haskin the ACDP’s “enforcer”, Christians said his colleague’s new role would include strengthening the party’s position in the council, rebuilding the structures of the party and instilling discipline.

Vowing to keep the DA on its toes, Christians said: “We will be a strong opposition to the DA. I will be very critical of the DA.”

Agreeing that Christians was best suited for the job, Haskins said: “He drives the political direction of the party in the province, and it makes complete and utter sense to have our provincial leader in the legislature rather than in the city of the Cape Town.”

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Cape Argus