This is the view of the DA’s former provincial leader and current member of the provincial legislature, Sizwe Mchunu.
Mchunu, who was silent on whether he would challenge the incumbent provincial leader, Zwakele Mncwango, (who has accepted the nomination for a second term), said he hoped the party would emerge from the conference committed to do things better.
“We need to come out with a plan that will clearly show that we’re going to grow the party,” Mchunu said.
He added that the party could not shy away from the fact that they were faced with very serious political competition in KwaZulu-Natal.
He said that the political competition in KZN was particularly saturated and contested terrain, and that if the ANC in the province emerged from its court battles united they would pose a new challenge. He added that the EFF had also emerged as serious competition.
Nominations for the party’s top leadership positions, including that of the provincial leader, deputy leader, chairperson and the three deputy chairpersons, close on Monday.
Mergan Chetty, the party’s provincial deputy leader, on Thursday said he had accepted the nomination to continue in his position and was confident that the party would increase its support base in the province, which he said “was there for the taking”.
He said the infighting in the ANC would be an important factor in their quest to take over the province.
DA chairperson Haniff Hoosen, speaking to Independent Media after returning from an overseas trip on Thursday, said he had not yet made a decision as to whether he would stand for any of the positions because of being away when the nominations opened on Monday.
“Obviously, these things work according to nominations, so I don’t even know whether I have been nominated,” Hoosen said.
Heinz de Boer, the eThekwini executive committee DA member and ward 35 councillor in uMhlanga, said he would not stand for any position and instead backed Mncwango.
“I have absolutely no ambition to stand for that position, or any other position at our provincial congress, I’m 100% behind Zwakele.
“He (Mncwango) is a very dynamic, fair leader. He listens and interacts with everybody and judges everybody on their own merits and not according to internal political camps,” De Boer said.
He said Mncwango was “an excellent provincial leader”.
De Boer said Mncwango understood the dynamics, concerns and hopes and aspirations of communities in rural municipalities and he had done “a fine job” in interacting with voters in those communities.
“I don’t anticipate any kind of shift in the way he might engage with voters or the way we might do things,” De Boer said.
He echoed Mchunu, saying that KZN was a difficult province politically because there was still the “Jacob Zuma factor” in the province, with a lot of people still “voting with their hearts”, and they were not going to change their vote.
“It’s an ongoing process and engagement with voters and trying to change people’s lives wherever we can, so I wouldn’t expect the new leadership to embark on any major changes.
“Even if we got a new provincial leader I don’t think he could offer anything more than Zwakele is offering us at the moment, because I think he is on the right track,” De Boer said.