The election of the DA’s provincial top brass at the weekend marked the launchpad that will shape and propel the party’s 2024 campaign, says newly elected DA Western Cape leader Tertuis Simmers.
The Infrastructure MEC clinched victory over former provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela as the DA concluded its Western Cape Provincial Congress at the weekend.
Madikizela was in 2021 dealt a heavy blow when his credibility was questioned due to the reported misrepresentation of his qualifications. He was forced to resign from the positions of DA leader and Transport MEC.
Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis emerged uncontested as Simmers’s deputy, sparking speculation about him as a potential rising star within the party and potential future leadership roles.
Jaco Londt secured the position of provincial chairperson uncontested, while Anroux Marais, Carl Pophaim, and Zimkhitha Silelu are provincial deputy chairpersons.
Erik Marais emerged uncontested as the provincial finance chairperson and additional members include Grant Twigg, Xanthea Limberg, Andrew Stroebel, and Donovan Joubert.
In 2021 Limberg, the then mayco member for Water and Waste in the City, came under scrutiny as revelations from a CV cast doubt on her academic credentials.
Addressing delegates, Simmers said: “Today marks the launchpad that will shape and propel our 2024 campaign. We must remain focused and on track.”
Simmers acknowledged the challenges faced by the party, recounting a period of decline from 2016 to 2019.
He highlighted the need to break free from stereotypes and complacency, emphasising stability and commitment as the keys to achieving success in 2024.
“I feel humbled, and honoured, that nearly two-thirds of congress delegates placed their trust in me to lead the DA in the Western Cape in the greatest battle we have ever had: Elections 2024. I commit to all our structures compliance, accountability, transparency, honesty, and discipline to ensure service delivery for all who live in the Western Cape,” Simmers said.
On his election, Hill-Lewis said the DA had a new strong and united leadership in the Western Cape, “That leadership is 100% focused on the 2024 elections and our goal as a party is to make sure we retain the Western Cape with a full-out majority and that we contribute to our national goal of putting together a multi-party chartered government for the first time in South Africa.”
UWC Adjunct Professor Keith Gottschalk said: “I suspect that Geordin Hill-Lewis’s star is on the rise, and he is destined for higher posts in future.
“One surprise is Xanthea Limberg. The DA announced that she was left off the DA’s municipal candidates list because she could not produce a qualification that she claimed on her CV.
“The DA has already started its 2024 election campaign with posters on lamp posts, and will be confident of re-winning the Western Cape with its usual big majority. The DA nationally will be focused on trying to increase its votes in Gauteng and KZN provinces.”
Stellenbosch University’s School of Public Leadership director Professor Zwelinzima Ndevu added: “At face value it would seem that the elected leadership represent both rural and urban constituencies.
“What has been the culture/ practice of the DA was to always include a black popular figure in their leadership structure to ensure broader representation, one would have hoped that space would have been created for Madikizela as a show of unity.
“Having said the above, with the work that they have done as a government at provincial level they will certainly return the province.”