Cape Town - The race for the premiership of the Western Cape is on after the DA opened up nominations for premier candidates in the different provinces ahead of next year’s elections.
Current provincial Premier Helen Zille has already indicated she will not be standing again, which leaves the field wide open for others to contest for the position.
At least two provincial cabinet members - DA Western Cape leader and Human Settlements MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela and Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde - have confirmed that they are in the running for her position.
Madikizela said he would be in the running, but reiterated that although he was provincial leader it did not place him ahead of other candidates.
“Yes, I will be putting my name in the hat, but I will be subjected to the same processes as anybody else. There is a selection panel that will apply their minds and make a determination. I feel strong enough to take over as premier as I have been in government for more than 10 years.
“The housing portfolio I head has given me the experience to deal with all the people of our province,” he said.
Madikizela said he was confident of a DA win in the Western Cape at the polls next year.
“We will win, no doubt about that. We have issues, but we are turning them around,” he said.
Winde also confirmed that his name is in the hat for the position.
“The first process is to make a selection, but yes, my name is in the hat. I can’t be revealing my manifesto at this stage. There are other internal processes I have to get over first, and after that I will make my manifesto available,” he said.
Asked about other candidates, he said: “I don’t know of any other candidates at this stage.”
During the DA’s provincial elective congress last year, Winde endorsed Madikizela to become leader.
Madikizela narrowly beat DA MPL advocate Lennit Max, who has already indicated that he would not be availing himself for any positions within the party.
Finance MEC Ivan Meyer is also a likely candidate for the top spot, but he is yet to confirm whether he would avail himself.
Meyer, who is also one of the DA’s national deputy federal chairs, did not respond to calls and text messages sent to him.
Other possible candidates include Social Development MEC Albert Fritz and Local Government MEC Anton Bredell.
Fritz is also DA deputy provincial leader, while Bredell is provincial DA chairperson.
But Bredell also did not respond to calls and messages, while Fritz, who is known for keeping a low profile, also did not respond.
Anthony Benadie, DA provincial campaign manager, confirmed that interested party members had until Wednesday to submit their applications.
“We don’t have a final candidate list as yet. From here on we start with the selection process and other internal processes will also begin.
“According to our schedule, we have a month to complete this process and will then announce the candidates for premier,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Gauteng DA MPL Makashule Gana publicly announced his intentions.
Earlier this month, party leader Mmusi Maimane announced that the DA was set on winning Gauteng and the Northern Cape while retaining the Western Cape.