The Democratic Alliance (DA) meets on Saturday ahead of the Western Cape congress which has been dubbed the party’s biggest and most important elective convention.
Today will be the first time the DA has had over 1,200 delegates at its elective conference.
Acting leader Bonginkosi Madikizela will be challenged for the top job by MPL Lennit Max. Madikizela took over from City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille earlier this year following her sudden resignation amid a strained relationship with Premier Helen Zille.
Addressing the Western Cape elective congress in Cape Town on Saturday‚ Party leader Mmusi Maimane said the DA was a party for all South Africans, irrespective of race. He slammed party members who use race to mobilize support.
Maimane said that once an organisation deviates from its goals‚ values and mission‚ contests at elective conferences become only about access to resources.
“We are not a party that mobilises and consolidates around race,” he said‚ to loud cheers from delegates.
“If you are running for a position of leadership and your message is that you represent a particular race or a particular group‚ let me tell you‚ you are in the wrong party.”
Speaking at the Western Cape congress as the keynote speaker, Maimane said the DA did not have white‚ black‚ Indian or coloured voting blocks. “In fact, being of a particular race can never be a reason to support a particular candidate,” he said.
Maimane’s warning came amid rumblings in the party about how different candidates appeal to DA insiders. While slamming DA members who saw their election to office as an opportunity to find a job and dispense patronage, Maimane also warned against factionalism. He referred to the state the ANC found itself in, where members beat each other up with chairs, saying such misconduct did not come about overnight but was built over time through factionalism.
He further admonished all elected officials to leave their egos behind and remember that every voter is important.