DA picks mayoral candidates for key battleground metros
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Johannesburg - With local government elections looming the DA has picked its candidates for the top positions in the metros, which are to become the key battlegrounds for the polls in the next few months..
The official opposition met in Johannesburg on Saturday where it decided on who to field to challenge for mayoral positions in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Cape Town.
Party MP Geordin Hill-Lewis is tipped to become the party’s preferred choice for mayor of Cape Town.
The party is targeting to retain the City of Cape Town and Hill-Lewis, who is currently the party’s spokesperson on finance and currently serving in Parliament’s standing committee on finance, has been seen as the right man to lead the city post the local government elections.
DA federal chairperson Ivan Meyer said the party would formally announce mayoral candidates on Sunday for the upcoming local government elections who will run in a number of South Africa's major cities.
“These are councils which we see as major battlegrounds of the election.”
Leader of the DA John Steenhuisen will make the announcement of the candidates who will campaign to be elected to lead these key local governments for the next five years, to get things done for residents.
“This announcement follows a thorough candidate selection process that has taken almost two years, and which included stringent candidate testing, independent assessments and multiple layers of candidate interviews,” Meyer said.
Among the metros that the DA is targeting is the City of Tshwane which it will also be looking to retain as it currently governs the city while it is also looking at gaining power in the City of Johannesburg and the City of Ekurhuleni.
Sources in the party said in Tshwane, the DA has picked Randall Williams as its mayoral candidate as they look for stability in the mayoral position of Tshwane in the new term following the resignation of Solly Msimango in February 2019 and that of his successor Stevens Mokgalapa exactly a year later in February 2020. Williams is the current mayor of Tshwane.
In Johannesburg, the DA has put in Dr Mpho Phalatse, former member of the mayoral committee for health under the DA’s former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
In Ekurhuleni, the party has picked Refilwe Ntsekhe as its preferred candidate and wants to win over that metropolitan municipality from the governing ANC where Mzwandile Masina is currently the mayor.
In Nelson Mandela Bay the DA wants Nqaba Bhanga to continue serving there and has been in charge for several months now. He is the mayoral candidate for that city.
The DA has not put forward a mayoral candidate for the eThekwini Municipality with a high ranking member of the party in the province saying this likely due to the party realising it did not have prospects of success.
“They are looking at strategic municipalities and they do not see the prospects that they could possibly win eThekwini. Those guys are now focusing on the minorities and looking at their campaign they obviously are not willing to turn to the majority then you can’t win eThekwini,” a party member said.