Race hots up for DA’s top position: Daily Dispatch

Mvenya feels ready to take reins as chair

TWO Democratic Alliance (DA) MPLs are set for a showdown this weekend when they go head-to-head in a battle for the party’s provincial chairmanship.

The looming battle, which will see the current provincial deputy leader Veliswa Mvenya gunning to be the first black and female party provincial chair, will take place when the party hosts its two-day elective conference in Jeffrey’s Bay from Friday.

Mvenya will square off with fellow MPL and current incumbent Edmund van Vuuren.

Van Vuuren, who was previously elected deputy chair and later acted as chairman after the death of Pine Pienaar, was elected chair at the Grahamstown conference in 2012.

At the time he took over, he had told party members that his vision as chairman was to help expand and grow DA membership “in areas where the ANC claimed ownership”.

The chairman’s position will be one of three positions contested during the weekend conference.

A second contest will be for the party’s provincial deputy leader position while eight members will contest three available deputy provincial chair positions.

Mvenya, who has been a party member for 14 years, yesterday confirmed she was contesting the position.

“Democracy does allow for contestation. I have been in the party for 14 years and I had never once contested,” she said.

“This is because during that time I was still learning. However, if I don’t contest now, then when will that time be because I now feel I have all the experience needed.”

Van Vuuren said the contestation would not create tensions between him and Mvenya, saying “the party favoured a healthy contestation”.

“Yes there will be some kind of tension, but I believe we are adult enough to overcome that,” he said, adding that he still needed a chance “to continue with the good work I have started as chairperson”.

Some positions, including that of current provincial leader held by Athol Trollip, will not be contested and the status quo is set to remain.

The two deputy provincial leader positions will see former Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela battling it out with current deputy leader Bobby Stevenson and councillors Terence Fritz and Eugene Goliath.

Only two will make it to the provincial leadership structure after the weekend conference expected to be addressed by DA national leader Helen Zille and the party’s parliamentary leader and national spokesman Mmusi Maimane.

The DA’s conference, which will be preceded by an awards ceremony on Friday, will also see the province’s official opposition outlining plans for their 2016 local government elections campaign. —