DA leader in KZN Zwakele Mncwango will be challenged for the position by DA councillor in eThekwini, Emmanuel Mhlongo, at the party’s congress next month.
The congress, which will be held at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on February 3, is seen as an important one as the party gears up for the 2019 general elections.
While the DA has been growing in the province, the pace has been slow. Now its members are hopeful that it can capitalise on divisions within the ruling ANC.
Mhlongo is the current North Central Durban Constituency chair of the party and says his aim is to see the party grow, especially in black areas at the expense of the ANC.
Born in Bulwer, Mhlongo says he came to Durban in the late 90s to look for better opportunities and became a DA councillor in 2012.
“I was deployed to work in KwaMashu. Before I came there (KwaMashu), there was no DA visibility, I have worked hard to increase votes in that area,” he said.
Mncwango, on the other hand, says he understands both rural and urban voters and will therefore be able to grow the party support ahead of 2019.
“The approach that we use in rural areas has got to be different to that we use in urban areas because the dynamics are not the same,” he said.
Mncwango has received endorsements from the likes of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and the leader of the DA Youth in KZN, Swelakhe Shelembe.
Another tough contest will be between MP Dean Macpherson and Francois Rodgers, the leader of the DA in the provincial legislature.
Rodgers is the former chair of the party’s Sisonke constituency which he said has consistently shown growth since he took over in 1998.
Rodgers has endorsed Mncwango, saying he had proved himself in his position.
Macpherson confirmed that he was also running for the chairmanship but refused to name any preferred candidate for any of the other top positions, saying if elected he will have to work with anyone.
“I also believe that our province has suffered from slate politics and would not want to be a part of this. We must also allow delegates to choose for themselves.”