This comes as three DA regions held the party’s conferences yesterday to elect new leaders with the view to canvassing support before 2019.
The battle for the regional leadership had intensified in Joburg, with various members divided over their choice of candidate to replace Gauteng MPL and former Joburg South leader Khume Ramulifho.
A majority of DA members in the City of Joburg, including mayor Herman Mashaba, wanted mayoral committee member Funzi Ngobeni to take over the reins, while the Gauteng legislature caucus backed Heinrich Volmink.
The division was evident as party members inside the conference venue wore T-shirts bearing their candidate of choice.
Ngobeni’s supporters also sang a song which is popularly sung by Cyril Ramaphosa’s supporters in the ANC. Ngobeni, though, lost to Volmink, but both officials pledged to work together to unseat the ANC government.
In Tshwane, Abel Tau was elected as regional leader, while in the Midvaal Local Municipality mayor Bongani Baloyi became the Vaal region’s maiden chairperson. In the past, the Vaal formed part of the DA’s Joburg South region under Ramulifho.
Yesterday, however, all DA structures agreed to restructure their organisational activities in accordance with the boundaries determined by the Municipal Demarcation Board.
DA federal council chairperson James Selfe urged members to prepare for the 2019 elections with a vision to put the DA in power.
“We must sell our vision of hope to those who have given up hope. We must encourage them to remain engaged in the political system and, crucially, to come to vote for the DA in 2019.
"Without their votes, we will not be able to bring total change to South Africa,” he said. Paying tribute to the Joburg mayor, Selfe said Mashaba had inherited a “wasteland”, but he turned it around and now Joburg residents, according to him, were living in hope.
“Johannesburg had been bled dry from corruption; its infrastructure and institutions were crumbling; its senior staff were, by and large, deployees of the ANC. It was filthy; the roads had potholes the size of craters. It was owed millions, if not billions, but had no idea who owed it what. Whole buildings were occupied illegally.”
Selfe urged members to “expect the same situation when the DA takes over Gauteng and the national government in 2019”.