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Alliances emerge in NC DA leadership battle

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Clear alliances have emerged after two members of the DA in the Northern Cape threw their hats into the ring for the respective positions of provincial leader and provincial chairperson.

The battle lines have been drawn and alliances have already been created in the run-up to the DA provincial conference in December. Picture: Facebook

CLEAR alliances have emerged after two members of the DA in the Northern Cape threw their hats into the ring for the respective positions of provincial leader and provincial chairperson ahead of the elections that will take place at the party’s provincial conference.

The DA’s Northern Cape provincial conference is expected to take place on December 5.

The party’s spokesperson on Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs and Member of Parliament, Grantham Steenkamp, has indicated that he has accepted a nomination for the position of provincial chairperson.

In a post on Facebook, Steenkamp thanked the party’s provincial spokesperson on Finance, Fawzia Rhoda, who has indicated that she will be running for the position of provincial leader.

Steenkamp has urged Rhoda to prepare for, as he put it, “a difficult and trying period”.

“Leadership is a thankless responsibility which is accompanied by unfair criticism and at times painful attacks. The build-up to the provincial congress is going to be a difficult and trying period because we will be greeted with hurtful insults, vicious verbal attacks, propaganda pedlars, who trade lies about us in exchange for political favours, make false accusations, fabricate ghastly stories, try to assassinate our characters, attempt to destroy our credibility and reputation while spreading false rumours and gossip monger about us and even direct attacks at our families,” said Steenkamp.

“These terrible deeds are happening already. There are people – who claim to be genuine, committed and loyal members of the DA – who are responsible for all these terrible deeds simply because they prefer or support their own candidates for these positions that we are contesting.

“These are whom I regard as the political assassins and politically illiterate we have to identify and focus on immediately after the provincial congress so that we take them through intense training and development for them to understand and respect what the Democratic Alliance is all about; to avoid them being used and exploited by those political rivals so desperate for political positions that they would shamelessly and cowardly use innocent ignorant individuals who do not understand the quality of democracy and the nature of contestation and competition.”

Steenkamp added that action should be taken against those who do not show a spirit camaraderie during the conference.

“Any candidate contesting for any position who does not strongly and publicly condemn the cruel, vindictive and unbecoming conduct of any member who insults and attacks a competing candidate – especially if that member supports his or her candidature – clearly supports and encourages the hooliganism and thuggish behaviour of that party and therefore explains the character of the competing candidate.

“The DA can never allow or condone the disgraceful conduct displayed by some of its members who are supposedly acting on behalf of the candidates they are supporting. I am therefore making a call on all candidates to rein in supporters and stop this terrible conduct … and should you not publicly condemn any of the bad actions then you should be disqualified from contesting for any leadership position because then you are not fit to lead the DA.

“No candidate should be insulted into submission or intimidated into withdrawing from the leadership race. Any member who attacks or insults any candidate should be suspended and investigated with immediate effect.

“The DA’s code of conduct should take effect with immediate effect. We should never allow the space to usher in a new culture of thuggery and evil in our party.”

Rhoda, in response to Steenkamp’s post, indicated that she will remain steadfast during her campaign.

“My acceptance of the nomination for the leadership position was done as a response to the outcry toward change. I have done it with the greatest of humbleness and servitude for the voters in our Province who are so deserving of hope and change as a matter of urgency,” said Rhoda.

“I have gone on record and I will state emphatically that I will run and manage my campaign with the utmost of integrity. Resorting to negative campaigning in my opinion is the marksmanship of a weak leader and should be left to those threatened to the core.

Together, you (Steenkamp) and I can demonstrate an effectively implemented campaign or contestation model built on integrity, truth of purpose with an unwavering focus on our core offering as we begin to bring hope of a united true blue engine.”

The party’s presiding officer, Desiree van der Walt, indicated that the provincial nominations are not yet open but added that there is nothing stopping members from stating their intention.

“Any person can at any time inform people that they intend to run for a leadership position. This can be done prior to when they submit a nomination form. The members know what the rules are and what exactly they are allowed to divulge. The Northern Cape will host its provincial conference in December and it is totally acceptable for people to put up their hands for nominations before the time,” said Van der Walt.