DA forbids public campaigning ahead of weekend vote for top party job

16 October 2019 - 13:44 By Aphiwe Deklerk
DA heavyweights Helen Zille, Athol Trollip, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters are in the running for federal council chair, to be decided by 155 members of the council at the weekend. File photo.
DA heavyweights Helen Zille, Athol Trollip, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters are in the running for federal council chair, to be decided by 155 members of the council at the weekend. File photo.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The DA has barred its leaders from publicly campaigning for the crucial position of chair of the federal council.

Former party leader Helen Zille is vying for the position, and will be competing against Athol Trollip, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters. But the party told journalists on Wednesday that it had barred the candidates from running a public campaign.

This comes after a live public debate, organised by eNCA and scheduled for Wednesday evening, was cancelled at the 11th hour.


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It also comes after some of the candidates gave media interviews about their candidacy.

Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, federal council elections presiding officer Desiree van der Walt said she had written to all the candidates and asked them not to run public campaigns.

“This election is an internal party election. We do not really want people to go out and canvass voters and the public. We want people to run a campaign with the authorised delegates,” said Van der Walt.

She said the election was unlike a congress, where the party would be electing the party leader. Instead, this was an internal election and "only of interest to the delegates".

Zille, Trollip, Waters and Walters are due to go head-to-head during the party’s federal council meeting in Johannesburg at the weekend.

A total of 155 delegates - members of the federal council - will choose one of them to replace James Selfe, who announced in June this year that he was stepping down from the powerful post.

Van der Walt said the party didn’t want the candidates to go against each other or campaign negatively.

“It is in the best interest of the party to keep the campaign internal,” she said.


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