Democratic Alliance executive federal chairperson James Selfe says the party’s gender representation in leadership positions should be viewed holistically instead of focussing on a gender balance in the upcoming federal leadership election.
The party has released its nomination list with 21 candidates who will contest the six leadership positions.
The DA’s nomination list is almost an all-male candidates list, only two of the 21 nominees are women.
They are Desiree van der Walt who is a member of parliament and Refiloe Ntsekhe who is a DA member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.
Ntsekhe and Van Der Walt will be contesting for two of the three deputy federal chairperson positions.
They will stand against four other candidates, Ivan Meyer, Stevens Mokgalapa, Atlas Maluleke and Joe Mgluwa.
If both Desiree van der Walt and Refiloe Ntsekhe fail to succeed at the congress, this will turn the outcome of the congress into an all-male DA top leadership.
But, James Selfe has brushed off the gender balance question, saying it should be viewed in a broader context.
Political analyst Waheed Patel says the question around gender balance in higher positions within the DA has a history, and it is one of the issues that will continue to put the party under scrutiny.
In addition, Patel says current leadership contest has placed the DA into a vulnerable position.
“This is the first time it is being split down the middle around of choice for national leader. The previous DP had the leadership of Tony Leon and he very much kept the party together. Helen Zille continued with that and she continued with her own style of leadership and tried to maintain it.”
The DA always showed an image of unity and cohesion, but this particular race presents the first real risk for the DA to start airing it’s dirty laundry so to speak in the open and I’m sure its something they want to avoid. However, what this comes down to is Mmusi Maimane’s policy proposition versus Wilmot James’ policy proposition.”