POLITICS
08/04/2018 06:48 SAST | Updated 08/04/2018 07:22 SAST

DA Votes: Trollip Confident, Msimanga Hopeful

The only contentious leadership position will be decided on Sunday when Athol Trollip and Solly Msimanga goes head to head for the party's chairpersonship.

South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane, addresses the audience during the party congress in Pretoria on April 7, 2018.   / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN        (Photo credit should read GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
GULSHAN KHAN via Getty Images
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane, addresses the audience during the party congress in Pretoria on April 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN (Photo credit should read GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Democratic Alliance will on Sunday vote for new leaders, complete amendments to its constitution and give proposals for its policies should it come into power following the upcoming general elections in 2019.

The DA is currently holding its 7th federal congress, where it will elect a new federal chairperson and three deputies. Its leader Mmusi Maimane and the federal council chairperson Mmusi Maimane were nominated unopposed.

Most of Saturday, the first day of the congress, was spent on proposed resolutions, an exercise which saw several delegates trickling out of one of the halls at the Tshwane Events Centre.

Saturday also saw the DA adopting the much-talked-about diversity clause, a proposal brought forward by Maimane who wanted the party to add diversity as its fourth value alongside three already existing values; freedom, fairness and equality.

The topic sparked great debate amongst party leaders, with sources telling News24 that members of the federal council spent four hours of a marathon 12-hour sitting on Friday discussing the meaning and wording of diversity.

The DA rejected replicating a quota system as well as a rigid formula. Delegates were told that the federal council had thought it best to replace "replicate" and instead to "promote and advance" diversity.

Sources told News24 that the initial proposal was rejected and amended so that it was in line with the "liberal" view of diversity.

Adding that there was consensus that diversity should be a party principle.

One DA delegate who attended the final federal council ahead of the congress told News24 that they had managed to win all debates on critical issues, claiming diversity was but one of their victories.

"We won all the debates, we amended the diversity clause, we agreed on recalling leaders who bring the party into disrepute and we managed to halt attempts to change the national management committee," said the DA insider.

Although the party member refuted claims that they had pushed a "Patricia clause" to deal with embattled Cape Town mayor Patrica De Lille, who has been suspended by the party, he said it would make the task of getting her to vacate office easier, as attempts from the party to get her to resign had been futile.

The source also said he was hopeful that delegates at the congress would agree with their view on the way forward for the biggest opposition party in the country.

The battle to be Number Two

The DA insider also told News24 that many were crossing fingers for Nelson Mandela Bay and current federal chairperson Athol Trollip to be re-elected.

Trollip and Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga are this congress' biggest battle, with each one claiming to have the correct credentials to serve as the DA's second in command, however some are advocating for Trollip to be supported merely because the EFF's leader Julius Malema has been attempting to see him removed as the Nelson Mandela Bay mayor.

"Julius Malema said he would cut the throat of whiteness through Athol. If he is cut by the DA, how will it look? We have to rally around him," said the source.

He insisted Msimanga was not ready for the task of leading the party from a national position.

Msimanga, who stood at the entrance to the congress venue to welcome delegates as they arrived seemed confidence, telling News24 he "had done the work" necessary to get him elected as the federal chair.

However, insiders said things had been rocky for the Tshwane mayor, as some of his close allies sacrificed him to boost their personal ambitions.

"They have divided his support base. It once looked like Solly had the Western Cape and Gauteng but now it seems the leaders of those provinces changed their minds and don't want to see him emerge as federal chair," bemoaned the insider.

Delegates will go to the polls at 06:00 on Sunday, with results being announced around midday. The DA will continue with its resolutions and constitutional amendments but have a closed session to discuss its financial report since Maimane took over. -- News24Wire