Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela on Monday confirmed he will not stand for the position of federal leader when the party elects new leadership in May.
Madikizela said he had never thrown his name into the hat in the first place, but thought it was important for him to set the record straight. His name had been touted in a various media reports as a possible candidate.
“I sent a letter to our structures, because it creates a bit of uncertainty when the structures don’t know what their leader is thinking,” he said.
In the letter, Madikizela said the party was “not in a crisis as some alarmists claim”, but had suffered a minor setback in 2019 and faced some challenges.
“Our review report has to a large extent diagnosed some of the problems. I don’t agree with everything within it, but by and large it’s a true reflection of why we are haemorrhaging,” he said.
“In our effort to lure many supporters from elusive constituencies, some of us resorted to populist rhetoric. This created a confusion among our supporters, thereby losing our identity.”
Madikizela said he believed the party’s policies had become a reaction to what the ANC was doing wrong, instead of having a clear position on areas such as economic empowerment, justice and affirmative action.
He strongly suggested a rebranding of the party, “with inputs from many South Africans who do not want to be associated with us, but lost hope in the governing party, otherwise it’s a lose-lose situation”.
“I will not be contesting the DA federal leader’s position until we have all these building blocks in place.”
He said he would focus on his role on as provincial leader of the party and avail himself again for this position in the upcoming provincial congress.
“The stability of the Western Cape is crucial to the stability of the party nationally. I will use that as a platform to influence these proposals,” he said.
He would also focus on his role as the MEC for Transport and Public Works.
Asked what he hoped to see in the new federal leader, Madikizela said this individual would need to unite the DA behind a common vision and make sure the party’s values and principles stood out.
“It is very important we get someone who has emotional intelligence and the political maturity to make strategic allies beyond the DA,” he added.
“We need a bridge builder who will really try to appeal beyond party structures and engage with more South Africans with the hope of really saving our country.”