Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille will vacate her office at the end of October. Picture: Laille Jack/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Candidates for the next custodian of Cape Town’s mayoral chains will be interviewed from next Monday and the biggest task will be to unite a divided DA caucus that has been characterised by public internal fights.

DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said the six candidates have made the shortlist and will be interviewed by a panel of 20 members from various DA structures.

The six candidates are DA Gauteng MPL Heinrich Volmink, mayco member for urban development and transport Brett Herron, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, Western Cape Legislature Speaker Sharna Fernandez, current deputy mayor Ian Neilson and relatively unknown city DA member Sumaya Taliep.

“Essentially what we want is a mayor that will heal the divisions in the caucus there. The best person has to heal the problems, because it is no secret that we have a divided caucus in Cape Town. For me, and certainly for the DA that is the best person we would want to be mayor. What is also important is to deliver services and build on what has already been built up,” Madikizela said.

On the selection panel, there are 10 members from the party’s federal executive, 5 from the provincial executive and 5 from the regional leadership.

“I will be part of that selection panel who will be doing the interviews. We are looking for someone who understands the City and knows what are the challenges there. Someone who has no previous connection to the different factions in the caucus is also needed because that person has to unify the caucus. It is a fact that when a party has internal fights like we have had, then the residents will end up suffering,” he said.

Soon after the DA’s Cape Town caucus lost confidence in mayor Patricia de Lille, a public spat between De Lille and the party erupted. It led to court battles, most of which De Lille won.

In council meetings, open to the public, several DA councillors including Grant Twigg, who is DA Cape Town chairperson, turned their backs while De Lille addressed council.

The nasty fights ended in the DA clearing De Lille’s name by dropping all charges against her and she is to leave the position by October 31.

Asked who the best candidate would be, Madikizela laughed and said that he is not at liberty to make pronouncements.

“That is an unfair question. I can’t answer that. I am doing the interviews, how can I be making pronouncements like that. I want the best candidate for the party and City,” Madikizela said.

He said they will announce a new candidate on before the end of September.

“We want to get this process done, and have a candidate for Cape Town ready. We can’t wait or stall no more,” he said.

Meanwhile the DA’s candidate for Western Cape Premier will be announced on Sunday, September 16.

Madikizela, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde, DA MP David Maynier and DA member Fazloodien Abrahams are all in the running.

Candidates for other provinces will be announced later in the week.

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Cape Argus