Why DA KZN leader is not seeking a third term
Durban - OUTGOING KwaZulu-Natal Democratic Alliance leader Zwakele Mncwango shared with The Daily News his views on the successes and challenges he faced during his two terms at the helm.
Mncwango said his time as DA leader came to an end on February 3, but he would stay on until a new leader was elected next month at the party’s congress.
He did not seek a third term because of his firm belief that two terms was enough for a leader to make the difference they wanted.
There were also other reasons that motivated him not to seek another term. One included that some leaders got too comfortable in their positions and ended up willing to kill to stay in power. He referenced how many leaders on the African continent desperately clung onto power.
“Too much power corrupts,” he said.
Mncwango joined the DA in 2000 because it was the only party that resonated with him as it fought for individual rights. When he took over as leader of the party in KwaZulu-Natal, there were goals he wanted to achieve. Some were to tackle the stigma that the DA was a “white party” and to increase the party’s foothold in black and rural areas which the party did not have. “We now have councillors in areas like uMkhanyakude District Municipality and Nongoma Local Municipality,” he said.
A firm believer in teamwork, he attributed this approach to part of his success.
Mncwango also noted that the increase in support and seats in the legislature happened at a time where the party was losing ground nationally.
With all his achievements, there were lessons learned and mistakes made, he said. One of the mistakes, he said , was letting people get between him and former KZN DA leader Sizwe Mchunu.
“We allowed individuals to come between us,” Mncwango said. He said people created a perception that there were problems between the two of them. He approached Mchunu and asked what they were really fighting over as he did not understand what the exact issue was. This was when they started to mend their relationship.
A lesson he learnt was to always put the interests of the party, before his own.
When going into a previous provincial congress, he was not on good terms with Haniff Hoosen as they had differing views about the party’s direction. Mncwango said before the congress started, they managed to put their differences aside and did what was best for the party. “This was a valuable lesson I learned from Hoosen, and I highly respected him for his actions and putting the party first.”
Mncwango, who was previously a feed engineer and often worked alone before he joined the party, said he learnt to interact with people when he entered politics.
He also learnt a lot about leadership while he was in the eThekwini Municipality, where he fought against corruption. “What made it easier was that former mayor James Nxumalo was in charge and was open-minded and listened to our points which led to the municipality getting a clean audit.”
Mncwango also learnt that in politics, there were no friends, but people who were brought together by common interests.
“I walk away from the office with a clear heart,” he said.
Mncwango plans to continue as a normal member of the legislature and spend more time with his family and focus on his studies.