Madikizela quits DA leadership race

Western Cape Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has dropped out of the party’s national leadership race.

Madikizela, who also serves as the province’s transport MEC, was up against interim party parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen and former DA youth leader, Makashule Gana.

READ MORE: Three DA contenders, three visions

The DA called for an election of an interim party leader and party chairperson after the resignations of Mmusi Maimane and Athol Trollip last month.

Last week, Madikizela told the Mail and Guardian that he, like all DA members, had ambitions to one day lead the party.

But Madikizela is shelving that dream for now.

He has withdrawn his nomination in the leadership race expected to take place this coming weekend and instead wants to continue to focus on building the party and the DA in government in the Western Cape.

It’s a similar refrain used by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde when asked if he was interested in the top job.

But Madikizela has not ruled out the possibility of running again when the party holds its next elective conference in May 2020.

This leaves DA parliamentary caucus leader Steenhuisen and Gauteng MPL Gana in a two-horse race.

READ MORE: DA’s ‘street fighter’ to tone it down

Steenhuisen is seen as a favourite among the 150-strong DA federal council. Last week, he was already out campaigning for the DA in by-elections in the Eastern Cape.

Gana is perceived as one of the members of the party still embittered by Maimane’s departure. The former youth leader says the party should be at the forefront of economic redress and issues of economic justice.

This policy has fallen out of favour with some in the party, with new federal council chairperson Helen Zille saying policies like black economic empowerment should be dropped because they are hurting the economy. 

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