DA candidates’ to make history

By Sipho Khumalo Time of article published Mar 7, 2012

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The face of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal is set to change, with the key position of provincial leader, which comes up for grabs at the party’s provincial conference in March, being contested only by black politicians – Sizwe Mchunu and Ziba Jiyane.

Mchunu is the incumbent, while Jiyane is the former IFP secretary-general and the founding president of the now-defunct National Democratic Convention.

This is the first time in the history of the party in KZN that the position is being contested by only black politicians.

Jiyane, who joined the DA almost six months ago, confirmed that he had thrown his hat into the ring after being approached by “many people”.

“Some DA leaders from Pietermaritzburg approached me. They convinced me that they would campaign for me. They believe I could play a role in making the DA become the official opposition in KZN in 2014, and that I could reach out to more voters to make the party more non-racial.”

Lobbying and campaigning for the two leaders is said to be hotting up and the contest is being taken into cyberspace.

Writing on the Chirp Room blog, Kameel Premhid called on DA voters to vote for Mchunu, who has been a DA member longer than Jiyane.

Mike Bond, a DA councillor in the uMgungundlovu district municipality who initially also stood for the provincial leadership position, announced last week that he was withdrawing his name in favour of Jiyane.

Mchunu confirmed that he would be standing and said he would be able to retain the position.

“I believe I stand a very good chance and I have received resounding endorsement from members across the length and breadth of the province,” he said.

“People have taken cognisance of the role that one has played in the party and I am indebted for the support that the members of the party have given me.”

The increased contestation of key positions in the DA by people from the black community is in line with the party’s declared intention, as espoused by its leader, Helen Zille, to be the “party of all” South Africans.

As exemplified by Zille’s move to have Lindiwe Mazibuko, considered a rising star, as leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, the DA seems to believe that the more black leaders occupy key positions, the more it is likely to attract the black vote and become a credible opposition, giving it an edge in its bid to govern the country in the near future.

There are 10 candidates for the position of deputy provincial leader, including George Mari, an MPL and the DA’s provincial spokesman on local government.

Among the candidates for provincial chairman of the party, a position that is less political and more executive administrative, is former Independent Democrats secretary Haniff Hoosen, an MP and the DA’s national spokesman on economic development. Hoosen is squaring up against fellow MP Greg Krumbock, who is the DA’s deputy national spokesman on economic development.

Mini-debates between candidates, intended specifically for party members, begin this week in Newcastle, Kokstad, Richards Bay and Durban.

These debates will see candidates explaining why they are best suited for key positions for the DA congress, which takes place in Ladysmith on March 17. - The Mercury

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