The DA's James Selfe stated that the party won't be taken chances with those wanting to hold public office. File picture Henk Kruger

Cape Town - The DA’s preparations for the upcoming local government elections are in full swing, with the party embarking on an extensive candidate selection process.

More than 1 600 members aspiring to take up public office are set to be interviewed over three consecutive weekends.

The first round of interviews took place in the city at the weekend with hundreds of councillors grilled by a selection panel.

Further interviews will be held this weekend.

A total of 7 000 candidates will be interviewed in the nine provinces. The Western Cape has the highest number of candidates to fill positions in 30 municipalities.

Gauteng has the second highest number of candidates.

DA federal chairman, James Selfe said the party was taking no chances. Future public representatives undergo a rigorous selection process and have to write aptitude tests to ascertain their fitness to hold public office.

Selfe said candidate selection has already started elsewhere in the country.

“Our candidate nomination process has three stages. First, all aspirant candidates appear before an electoral college, elected by the branches in the municipality in which the candidate wishes to stand.

“This electoral college elects a pool of candidates that is twice the size of the number of councillors we estimate will be elected in that municipality,” Selfe said.

He added that “approved aspirant candidates” will then appear before a selection panel, which interviews them and assesses their fitness by scoring them on a series of aptitude tests.

Selfe said there is at least one selection panel for each municipality.

“The selection panel arranges the candidates in descending order of scores.

“It also recommends the candidates that should be nominated in the various wards,” he said.

Selfe said the list and recommended ward candidates are considered by the “relevant executive”, which, in the case of the City of Cape Town, is the Metro Regional Executive.

“It can, by a two-thirds majority, move candidates up the list or introduce other candidates to improve diversity, geographic distribution or the skills set of the caucus,” he added.

For candidates who are running for mayoral positions, Selfe said they will be selected by a Mayoral Electoral College.

This process would only take place later in the party’s candidate selection cycle.

Meanwhile, the DA’s Western Cape office confirmed that nominations to succeed Patricia de Lille as mayor of Cape Town had closed.

Provincial spokeswoman Liza Albrecht said two nominations had already been received and the candidates would be interviewed on January 25.

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Cape Argus