Voting for new leadership went well: Solly Malatsi

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Democratic Alliance (DA) National Spokesperson Solly Malatsi says voting for a new leadership at its virtual elective conference went well although the deadline for voting had to be extended by an extra hour. This was due to a number of delegates experiencing COVID-19 symptoms at the hybrid venues as well as various other problems.

Briefing the media at the end of the first day of congress, Malatsi outlined the processes to follow.

“Now that voting for our leadership has concluded, all the voting data will be backed up on a flash disk in the presence of party agents and an independent auditor here at our nerve centre, at our offices. This flash disk plus a backup will be put in a special envelope which is sealed with a plastic tab marked with a serial code which breaks when it is opened so it will be safely stored in a safe the whole night. The results are scheduled to be announced at approximately 14:00 tomorrow after which the elected leader will deliver their acceptance speech.”

New DA leader to be announced on Sunday:

Political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke 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.”

Discussion with Professor Tinyiko Maluleke on DA leadership race:

White organisation 

The DA has dismissed claims that the party is a predominantly white organisation. Both candidates competing for the party’s federal leader’s position believe the party is a reflection of diversity.

Steenhuisen says more than 53% of people who vote for the DA are not white.

“But I think if you can look behind me today, look at the congress delegates, you will see that this is a myth perpetrated by our opponents. More than 53% of people who vote DA are not white South Africans precisely because people realise that this is one party that bringing South Africans from all back grounds together, regardless of their skin colour, religion, age and geographic location. We are focused on leading that charge towards non-racialism in South Africa, accepting people not as representatives of the colour of their skin, but as an individual who’s got something to offer South Africa.”

Ntuli says closing the inequality gap among South Africans should be among the party’s priorities.

“If the DA wants to be able to grow, we have to go out and speak to all South Africans and we must show them that we understand their realities; particularly the fact that we still have so much inequality in our country. As a young person, I can’t not speak about that because, obviously, it is going to affect my generation and generations to come. But I really think what will really help the DA to grow, there are so many South Africans out there, 12 million between 18 and 35, who we haven’t been speaking to. Those are the voters we want to excite to come to politics.”

Professor Somadoda Fikeni unpacks DA’s race for new leadership: