Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

The DA’s federal executive has rubber-stamped Gwen Ngwenya’s return to her old job as policy head.

The official opposition party announced on Saturday that Ngwenya had been identified to fill the role as she brings with her “enormous experience and talent” regarding policy.

DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said the process to appoint Ngwenya is “fully under way”. The DA will hold its policy conference in April 2020 and it is critical that a policy head be appointed as soon as “practically possible to get the ball rolling as it relates to the policy conference”.

Gwen Ngwenya. Picture: FACEBOOK
Gwen Ngwenya. Picture: FACEBOOK

Ngwenya resigned as DA policy head almost a year ago and in her stinging resignation letter to then DA leader Mmusi Maimane she said the DA under him did not take policy seriously.

Maimane resigned as DA leader and MP in October, saying that despite his best efforts, the DA was “not the vehicle best suited to take forward the vision of building ‘one SA for all’.”

The resignations of Maimane, Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba and erstwhile federal chair Athol Trollip followed Zille’s election as federal council chairperson in October.

Ngwenya’s return to her old job was viewed as a foregone conclusion after the DA’s federal council chair Helen Zille and interim party leader John Steenhuisen favoured her return to the post.

Clean sweep

Steenhuisen told the media last week that there was not enough time before the policy conference next year for a new person to take over the policy portfolio afresh. Ngwenya had already been in the post and could draw on her knowledge of it.

The Sunday Times reported in October that Zille’s supporters in the DA were emboldened by her return to the party’s top echelons and were planning a clean sweep of the DA’s most powerful positions. It reported that according to insiders, they planned to take control of the DA and its caucus, with the first part of the plan falling into place when former chief whip Steenhuisen was announced as parliamentary leader.

Feisty MP Natasha Mazzone has been appointed chief whip, while MP Geordin Hill-Lewis is tipped as the party’s future CEO.

Ngwenya took to Twitter on Sunday, saying: “Excited to be back in the DA and working on policy. There seems to be a real appetite for it, which is fantastic. Looking forward to working with colleagues to producing the best policy platform in South Africa, and for South Africa.”

Zille could not immediately be reached for comment.

mkentanel@businesslive.co.za