Lungile Phenyane abandons bid for top DA leadership positions ahead of federal congress

Lungile Phenyane dropped her bid to become the new leader of the DA. SUPPLIED

Lungile Phenyane dropped her bid to become the new leader of the DA. SUPPLIED

Published Mar 22, 2023


Cape Town - With just a week to go before the DA’s federal congress, Lungile Phenyane has dropped her bid to become the party’s new leader.

Phenyane, a branch member in Tshwane, will also not challenge Helen Zille for the position of federal council chairperson, nor will Phenyane vie for the position of federal finance chairperson.

The party’s federal congress presiding officer Greg Krumbock said the list of election candidates had been updated.

“Indeed, Lungile has withdrawn from the two positions you mention, and also federal finance chairperson. A federal congress circular has been distributed to the party, reflecting the updated internal election candidates,” said Krumbock.

Her decision to run for all the positions congress has to offer grabbed attention, but party insiders told the “Weekend Argus” that “most of us don’t even know who that is”.

Another added: “I think (Phenyane) would have divided the scores between Mpho and John.”

Former Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse will contest against John Steenhuisen for the position of party leader.

Thousands of DA delegates are due to convene on April 1 and 2 to elect the party’s leadership. The chosen delegates are scheduled to be announced on April 2.

Members of the DA federal council will also vote for a new chairperson and three deputy chairpersons of the federal council, as well as the federal finance chairperson.

Phalatse launched her leadership campaign at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Soweto on January 30.

Phalatse said her work as a technocrat and leading the multiparty coalition in Johannesburg had “sufficiently prepared” her for the position.

On January 26, Phalatse was ousted as mayor for a second time during a motion of no confidence.

If Steenhuisen's bid is successful, it will be his second term as party leader.

The incumbent federal chair is Ivan Meyer and, as previously reported in the “Weekend Argus”, he will contest his position once again.

The three deputies are Refiloe Ntsekhe, Anton Bredell and Jacque Smalle. Former chief whip Natasha Mazzone, former party spokesperson Solly Malatsi and Phenyane are vying for a position among the deputies.

“If elected federal deputy chairperson, I will advocate for meaningful resources in activist training and development to boost the quality and depth of our activists as they are lifeblood of our ground-war operations,” said Malatsi.

Dion George, the incumbent federal finance leader, will contest his position.

Zille is the only candidate standing for the position of federal council chair.

Weekend Argus