Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
James Selfe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
James Selfe. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

DA federal council chairman James Selfe is set to be re-elected unopposed at the party’s national congress.

This comes after the party’s chief whip in Parliament, John Steenhuisen, was asked to contest the federal council chairman post in a simmering battle over the DA’s political strategy. However, Steenhuisen has said he would only do so if Selfe did not stand for re-election.

DA chief electoral commissioner Anchen Dreyer announced the nominations for the national congress set for April. DA leader Mmusi Maimane is set to be re-elected unopposed and is poised to lead the party into the 2019 election.

The key contest is likely to be for the position of chairman, a post occupied by Nelson Mandela Bay metro mayor Athol Trollip. Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga is taking on Trollip for the post.

MP Annelie Lotriet will also contest the position.

The DA is pushing for a "diversity" clause to be added to its constitution. This may help it to improve black representation on party benches in legislatures at various levels.

The party has faced criticism that it has more white representation in the legislatures at national, provincial and local government levels and that this does not reflect the diversity in its broader membership and in the country.

There has long been a debate about how to improve representation, with some arguing that quotas should be imposed.

According to the DA’s constitutional amendments, which have been approved and recommended by the party’s constitutional amendment committee, a "diversity" clause is set to be added.

It reads: "South Africa is a richly diverse society … Diversity is one of South Africa’s richest assets. The party celebrates diversity and strives to ensure that every group, every language, every religion and every traditional custom is respected and upheld....

"The party will to the best of its ability attempt to replicate diversity in its own ranks."

The amendment committee justifies the change in the document, saying the DA "is the only party in South Africa that is truly nonracial".

"It is recommended that diversity becomes a value for which we strive."

In other party matters, the disciplinary process on the conduct of City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.