Western Cape Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Patricia de Lille’s resignation has opened up the door for her deputy Bonginkosi Madikizela to take over the reins in the province.
Who Is Bonginkosi Madikizela?
Madikizela was a former member of the African National Congress (ANC) who rose to prominence in 2005 when he led a group of disaffected ANC members in Makhaza, Khayelitsha in a leadership battle against ANC’s Mcebisi Skwatsha.
Madikizela and his men were staunch loyalists of former Western Cape Premier and ANC provincial chairman Ebrahim Rasool at the time.
He later joined the UDM in 2007 and was elected as Cape Town Metro regional secretary. Later, a party investigation found that he had secretly recruited party members to join the DA.
Afterwards, the City of Cape Town hired Madikizela as its communication officer and later a spokesman for the office of the Cape Town mayor Helen Zille. In October 2008 he fully joined the DA and was subsequently appointed as Housing MEC by Helen Zille.
Bonginkosi Madikizela will lead the opposition party in the region until an elective conference can be held. The conference is likely to hold at the end of the year as announced by Maimane’s spokesperson Mabine Seabe.
“…. the deputy leader in the province Bonginkosi Madikizela will take over the leadership of the party until a conference is convened, which is most likely at the end of the year,” Seabe said.
Mayor Patricia de Lille submitted her resignation letter on Monday to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, citing that she resigned as DA leader in WC to focus on her mayoral work. She further stated that the “responsibility of a two-thirds majority was weighing heavily on her”.
Maimane’s spokesperson Seabe confirmed the resignation, stating that it would come into effect from February 1.
Meanwhile, acting provincial leader Madikizela has refuted claims that there is a power tussle going on in the party following Patricia De Lille’s resignation as provincial chairperson.
He maintained that De Lille’s surprise decision has nothing to do with any alleged ‘war’ within the party, as speculated by party insiders, the African National Congress and media.
Information from DA insiders had it that De Lille and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille have been having clashes on leadership questions.
“There is a very serious contestation and interference on the leadership of the DA, a rupture between Hellen Zille and Patricia on leadership questions. The conservatives and liberals are fighting for their space,” the source said.
Role as Acting Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader
The DA’s national leadership is characterised by both diversity and depth of experience. With their roots in the struggle against apartheid and featuring a proven record of delivery where they govern, the DA’s leadership team are working to bring a better life to all South Africans.
Becoming one of the DA’s major leaders, Bonginkosi Madikizela called for unity, urging party members to put their differences aside in order to save the country. He said many DA supporters were starting to feel disillusioned and the party needed to make them feel valued again. Speaking further, he added that many people, particularly in the rural areas, are yet to feel the presence of the Democratic Alliance
In a recent report, Madikizela has also expressed concern about on-going problems within its Cape Town caucus. This was in regard to the resignation of caucus chairperson Suzette Little. According to Madikizela, change is needed in the caucus leadership for stability. He said things couldn’t get any worse in that caucus, hence any leader would be concerned with what is happening in the City of Cape Town.
Referring to the upcoming 2019 election, Madikizela said the only opposition for the DA in the Western Cape is the DA.
“The only people who can give those opposition parties an opportunity to sneak in are the DA members. So we have to fix the problem there as the DA so we can start focusing our attention on the voters,” he said.
Meanwhile, the party’s Federal Executive and provincial leaders are reviewing the Cape Town caucus leadership following the resignation of its chairperson, Little.