The Democratic Alliance (DA) succession race could place the party in a quandary. It needs a leader that can appeal across all racial lines but no-one has officially thrown their hat into the ring. There are several obvious contenders.
Former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon says whoever takes over from Helen Zille will not have enough time to make an impact on the voting public ahead of the 2016 Local Government Elections (LGE).
His statement follows Zille’s announcement that she will not stand as a party leader for the next term.
Current DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says he’ll consult his structures before making himself available for the position.
Leon has some advice for the new DA leader.
“There is going to be a new leader of the party in a month’s time. However, that person whoever it is will have to stamp their identity not just in the party but all the people out there who are voting for the party,” expressed Leon.
Leon says the party’s new leader has a very big job ahead of them. “It’s a make it or break it time. The incumbent leader has less than a year to go before the Local Government Elections. This is a crucial time for the DA. Voters will be looking for someone who is strong and who has ‘nerves of steel’. The new leader will need to make his or her mark very quickly and earn the trust of old faith fulls as well new members of the party.”
Party leader Helen Zille is largely credited for turning around the DA. She managed to attract at least 4 million black votes in the last election. With her bowing out as leader several potential successors are being bandied about.
Among them is DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, Gauteng leader John Moodey and even Lindiwe Mazibuko. But Mazibuko says she will not avail herself for any leadership position.
I wish to clarify that I will not be making myself available for election to any leadership post at the DA's 2015 Congress.
— Lindiwe Mazibuko (@LindiMazibuko) April 13, 2015
Political analyst Steven Friedman says the new DA leader will have to reach out to black people’s votes, “I’m sure they would like to add some more votes. But, I don’t think now their priority is votes, at the moment. Surprisingly as that may sound their priority should be to make themselves an attractive coalition party.”
In this election, personalities are interesting to people but I think the real issue in this DA election is going to be the contest between those who feel it should move close to black people, Friedman explained.
The Eastern Cape DA leader Athol Trollip will not run for the leadership. He is the mayoral candidate for the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
Eastern Cape DA leader Athol Trollip says, “Helen Zille took the DA forward from where Tony Leon left it. I’m convinced her successor after this congress in Port Elizabeth will take party into greater heights. Whoever that successor is though is going to be fundamentally important that – that person not only embraces but personify non-racialism in South Africa.”
The DA’s congress to elect its new leader will be held on May 9, 2015.
– By Ntlantla Kgatlhane