The fight for the DA’s top position in the next three weeks has intensified with some of the provincial leaders coming out in support of their preferred candidates. Picture: Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The fight for the DA’s top position in the next three weeks has intensified with some of the provincial leaders coming out in support of their preferred candidates.

But other leaders remained mum on who they would support to succeed Mmusi Maimane when the federal council holds a special meeting.

The provincial leaders are considered a key factor for support in the DA ahead of the elections.

DA provincial leader in Mpumalanga Jane Sithole backed John Steenhuisen for the top job.

However, Patricia Kopane in the Free State and Zwakele Mncwango in KwaZulu-Natal, said they would not indicate who they preferred to lead.

Mncwango said all the three candidates were competent to lead the DA.

Steenhuisen is in the race to take over the reigns from Maimane, who quit as party leader two weeks ago. He faces stiff competition from Gauteng provincial legislation member, Makashule Gana, and Western Cape provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.

Sithole said she supported Steenhuisen, who was recently elected unopposed as interim parliamentary leader.

“I will be voting for John Steenhuisen because I believe he is capable. I know the media loves the race narrative but I always look for the best person for the job,” said Sithole.

Sithole, who previously supported Maimane prior to his resignation, said Steenhuisen had the required experience to lead the official opposition.

“He had been in politics for a long time. Politics is about serving and understand the environment that you work in,” she said.

Kopane said she had not made up her mind on who to support.

She said it was too early for her to make a decision on the best candidate to lead the DA.

“Up to now I have not made up my mind. We still have 15 days to go. It’s too early. We still have a lot of time,” said Kopane.

She said she would wait for the candidates to call her for her support ahead of the meeting this month.

The special federal council meeting precedes the congress in April next year, to elect a new leader.

The DA congress was been brought forward by a year after Maimane left his position.

The DA had been left rattled by the resignation of its senior leaders. This comes after the crucial meeting of the party where Helen Zille was elected federal council chairperson.

The position was previously held by James Selfe. Other than Maimane, Athol Trollip and Herman Mashaba who resigned, the party’s chief executive Paul Boughey also resigned days before that federal council meeting.

Political Bureau