The DA is hard at work preparing to next month elect a new federal executive chairperson, the position that was left vacant when James Selfe resigned from the position. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Johannesburg - The DA is hard at work preparing to next month elect a new federal executive chairperson, the position that was left vacant when James Selfe resigned from the position he had held for the past 19 years. 

He will now to lead the party’s new service delivery unit. 

A DA leader who asked not to be named said only members of the federal executive would vote for the new chairperson, which is the party engine equivalent to the secretary-general in terms of running the party’s administration office.

“I think the election will take place between October 10 and October 20 in Johannesburg,” said the source. 

He said former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, who is currently the party's federal chairperson, and federal council deputy chairperson Thomas Walters were the leading candidates to replace Selfe. 

DA federal executive member Mbali Ntuli sparked debate on Facebook when she posted on Tuesday: “So who is standing for Federal Executive Chairperson? It’s a month away and I haven’t heard of anybody officially canvassing?”

Some of her followers responded by saying they would prefer a woman to hold the position. 

Mohale Caswell said “time for a woman to stand mademocrats for the position”, while Cecilia Freestone said she preferred Trollip. 

Leandi Erasmus said she would be happy if Ntuli would take the position as “the party needs you”. 

Independent Media has been informed that the federal executive is made up of 120 members who can vote.  

When approached, Ntuli said she would vote for a person who would take the party forward. 

“We still have the challenge of inconsistency in the application of rules,” said Ntuli, who declined to reveal her preferred candidate. 

Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni said a suitable person for the position should be highly respected to preside over meetings.

“It should be a person who has good relationships with different stakeholders within the party because from time to time he or she has to prevail on them,” said Fikeni. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane had previously told News24 that Selfe’s new task would be to lead the unit that would ensure that party’s governments were in a position to better their service delivery.    

"James has both the skill, experience and institutional knowledge to spearhead this new unit, and I welcome this decision," Maimane had told the website. 

Political Bureau