DA delegates wait with bated breath to hear who will lead the party

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With delegates having cast their votes for who will lead the party over the next three years, delegates at the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) virtual Elective Conference now wait with bated breath to find out who will be their next leader.

KZN MPL, Mbali Ntuli, has challenged Interim Leader, John Steenhuisen, for the position of Federal Leader while former Leader, Helen Zille is going head to head with Gauteng Chief Whip, Mike Moriarty for the powerful Chairperson of the Federal Council position.

The party will also amend its constitution and pass resolutions.

DA elective congress:

In opening the Elective Congress, DA Interim Federal Chairperson, Ivan Meyer said that the aim of the Congress was to make the party fit for purpose to take South Africa forward.

“We have set three objectives. Firstly, to recalibrate the party around the values and principles of the DA. Secondly, to refocus the party as the only viable structure in South Africa that can effect change for alternative and evidence-based policy choices. Thirdly, reconnecting with our current and future voters. Despite COVID-19, we have been able to connect with our voters using multiple communication channels. Our offer and our promise to the people of South Africa at this federal congress 2020; real hope, real change now.”

Generating excitement at the conference is the race for the DA’s top job.

Contender Ntuli says she will work to ensure that divisions within the party and amongst South Africans are transcended. She was delivering her message to the just over 2000 delegates at the party’s virtual elective conference ahead of voting commencing.

“We need to tap into every type of person in this party and every type of person in South Africa and show them that they can belong in the DA. That we will fight for them; that we will never scapegoat them; that we will make sure that everyone has a future in this country. If we can do this; if we can if we can excite people again despite what happened last year, we will make sure that people in this country will look at us differently. I am asking, as a leader, to give me the opportunity to show you that I will be in every community doing that. I know that it has been hard and I know that it has been tough, but we can’t stop because we are tired. We will only stop when we are done and we have achieved a kind and strong and fair society.”

The other candidate Steenhuizen says he has worked hard to build the party in the last year that he has been in the position. He told delegates that he is battle-tested and it is now time to the DA to rise.

“From now on, every single DA member must focus on the voters; all of them. Every South African deserves to know our fantastic vision for the future and how we mean to rescue them from this criminal clique in power. We must give people permission to hope again. Let’s give them the audacity to dream of a better future. The promise of stability in a world that has never been so uncertain. Colleagues, the DA is once again ready for take-off. We have repaired the holes in our fuselage, we have installed powerful new engines and our passengers are excited for the journey that lies ahead.”

DA Elective Federal Congress 2020:

The underdog

Meanwhile, political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke says while there appears to be no definitive ideological difference between the two candidates’ views. He says Ntuli is the clear underdog in the race for the DA’s top position.

“She stands against this new Helen Zille, Steenhuisen-DA that has gotten rid of Mmusi Maimane, if you like and has gotten rid of Herman Mashaba. She stands against that. Now, this is a DA that has been on the rise recently in the DA and that alone is a very difficult mountain for her to climb. She is young, she is a woman, she is black. Now, those ordinarily should be advantages, but I don’t know if those are advantages in the DA.”

The party has also been discussing and debating proposed constitutional amendments and resolutions as the Elective Congress is the DA’s highest decision-making body.

The results of the election will be announced on Sunday afternoon.

Discussion with Professor Tinyiko Maluleke on DA leadership race: