New Western Cape leader wants united DA
The election of Bonginkosi Madikizela ends a nine-month leadership vacuum
Unifying the DA in the Western Cape and expanding its support in black communities are two of the challenges facing the party’s new provincial leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela.
Madikizela, the human settlements MEC, will be the first black person to lead the DA in the province. He was elected at the party’s provincial congress at the weekend, beating rival Lennit Max, a former MP of the Independent Democrats.
Social development MEC Albert Fritz was chosen as deputy leader while local government, environmental affairs and development planning MEC Anton Bredell retained his position as provincial chairperson.
The election ends a nine-month leadership vacuum since former leader and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille stepped down in January to focus on her mayoral duties.
While Madikizela, as deputy provincial leader, took over the provincial leadership in an interim capacity, the absence of an elected leader allowed party factionalism to flourish.
Madikizela will have to stamp his leadership on the DA and build support in urban and black communities and in ANC-dominated rural areas if the DA is to strengthen its showing in the 2019 general election.
"Internal contestation is over," Madikizela told about 1,000 congress delegates after the results were announced. "We only have one goal in mind now and that goal is to unite the Democratic Alliance so that we can go out there and work towards the 2019 project. We must put our differences aside."
Much work was needed in areas where the DA had lost support, as well as to grow in new constituencies and opposition areas, while not losing its loyal supporters, he added.
Earlier, DA leader Mmusi Maimane warned of the dangers of complacency, which was setting in in the DA in the Western Cape and was allowing other parties to win by-elections.
Political analyst Daniel Silke believed the election outcome was a good result for the party.
"This election has been far too protracted, which fomented the factional and other personality clashes. Now it is time for the new leader to put his mark on the party…."