Well that didn’t take too long. The National People’s Party has already descended into infighting and expulsions.
The NPP was formed by a number of Western Cape councilors with much bluster and hype who hoped to break the DA alliance on the Cape Town City Council and set themselves up to be king makers in the region. For those of you who can remember back to the most recent municipal elections this was the same tactic the ID tried and just like for the ID it failed miserably, with the DA still retaining control of Cape Town. The ID had to change track when it’s voters went into open revolt over it’s decision to ally with the ANC and is now a partner to the DA.
The NPP, having no voters, instead now has to turn in on itself. Come the next municipal elections I predict they’ll be all but wiped out.
Let’s face it. The funding of political parties in SA is a complete mess. In what other country which would aspire to call itself a democracy would a political party go to court to keep money (at least R3 500 000 that we know of) donated by a fraudster at a time when he was possibly insolvent?
The DA claims to have returned the R250 000 that was donated to them, although had they received as large a sum as the ANC are fighting to keep one thinks they may not have been so keen to hand the cash back.
Say what you will about the money that surrounds politics in the USA but at least there is legislated transparency (although I’m sure plenty slips below the radar). Unfortunately in SA there is not much momentum to open up the funding of political parties.
The larger political parties (ANC and… uh that’s it) want to keep their donor list private to prevent the more dodgy sources of income (Brett Kebble, Oilgate/Mvume, Chancellor House) from coming to light. The smaller political parties (DA and everyone else although the ACDP disclosed their funding… once… in 2003) would prefer their donors be kept private to prevent any kind of backlash from government towards them.
Either way the situation stinks.
Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool (be sure to read his scintillating blog) is to face a probe deciding whether he misled the provincial legislature about the costs of security upgrades to his house. The DA brought forth the motion and surprisingly it was supported by the ANC. No doubt the ‘Africanist’ faction led by Mcebisi Skwatsha of the Western Cape ANC is behind this, they’ve had their targets on Rasool for a while now.
Still it’s nice to know that bipartisanship is actually possible in SA politics.
DA Federal Chairman Joe Seremane has stated that he will not seek the position of leader of the DA in parliament.
I don’t think I will. I’m not desperate. I stood for (national) party leader because a step had to be taken. I said my election would be a moment of truth for the party
I believe the extremely small number of votes he received (a mere 65 votes out of over 1000) during the DA leadership elections this past weekend probably played a factor in this decision.
Mayor of Cape Town Helen Zille has been elected as the new leader of the DA, beating out DA Federal Chairman Joe Seremane and Easter Cape Provinicial Leader Athol Trollip.
What’s interesting to me was the utter shellacking Joe Seremane received in the voting. Seremane received a mere 65 votes, compared to Zille’s 786. Even supposed no-hoper Athol Trollip received 228 votes. I’ll bet that some spin doctors in Luthuli House are making note of that.
Due to the fact that Zille will retain her position as Mayor of Cape Town and will not be present in parliament, the DA will have to appoint a parliamentary representative to take her place. I assume this will be Joe Seremane.
Although Zille is a competent and able leader I do hope that her reign as leader takes the form of night watchman rather than a long term leader. The DA is still facing a leadership crisis in that the top leadership is still dominated by white males. Perhaps we should be keeping an eye on some of the DA’s Young Guns?
The ANC has often treated the DA (and other political parties) as if they barely existed in parliament let alone were the official opposition. Which is why it’s nice to see that Thabo Mbeki has finally met Tony Leon in his official capacity as Leader of the Opposition™. Although if you consider the fact that Leon will only be in that position till Sunday then it seems like it’s little more than a final act of contempt between from the ANC to Leon.
The media is all abuzz with stories that Cape Town Mayor Helen Zille is feuding with DA Western Cape Leader Theuns Botha. What makes the story all the more juicy is that Botha is supposedly in cahoots with ID Leader Patricia De Lille. According to reports Botha is not keen to have Zille become national DA leader as that would make him her subordinate. Tony Leon was quick to jump in and declare any stories about feuds and plots to be little more than media ‘distortion’. Despite proclaiming in his last weekly e-mail newsletter that the DA is proud of it’s transparent leadership selection process it seems when things get nasty it’s time to take things behind closed doors.
If this is all true it’s unclear to me why Botha would be conspiring with the ID. Sure he may not like Zille but why does Patricia De Lille not want Zille to become national DA leader? Perhaps in becoming DA leader Zille would dethrone De Lilla as first lady of opposition politics? Or does De Lille believe it would strengthen the DA in the Western Cape and perhaps thwart any plans the ID had of swapping alleigances (again) when floor crossing occurs again in September?
To tell you the truth I’ve never really liked Theuns Botha. To me he is a leftover from the highly unsuccessful DP/NNP merger and every time I see him I get the feeling the only reason he didn’t follow the rest of his NNP pals to the ANC was because of his still lingering dislike for ‘die kommuniste’. Although I could have the man all wrong.
It seems despite being all the way up north Gauteng DA leader John Moody is putting his vote next to Helen Zille’s name as new leader of the DA.
“To me, Helen is the most appropriate person to head the party. She has a personality that draws people to herself… Helen has become for Cape Town and the DA, our own Helen Of Hope,” said Moody, the party’s first black provincial leader.
‘Helen of Hope’? I guess it’s better than ‘Kortbroek’, but only just.
It seems the DA leadership race is going to be a three horse race between Zille, DA Federal Chairman Joe Seremane and DA Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip.
Mayor Of Cape Town Helen Zille has announced that she will be running for the position of leader of the DA.
If she wins she will not be vacating her post as mayor and instead will have to simultaneously juggle both positions. For instance she will have daily 7am meetings with her mayoral staff and then an hour later pop over to parliament for another meeting with national DA staff.
Personally I don’t think it’s a good idea. Cape Town is really too important for the DA to mess up. If they do the ANC will pounce on the opportunity to show the DA are incapable of governing. With the upcoming preparations for 2010 and no doubt some further attacks by the ANC on getting her out of power I feel Zille needs to be 100% committed to Cape Town.
If you had to look at the front page of Inside Politics you’d think you were looking at a normal blog about SA politics, albeit one that looks like it was designed in 1998 and with no RSS feed or coments (although I must say their series on Chapter 9 Institutions is enlightening). What you won’t see straight away is that it’s run by the Democratic Alliance. From the whois page at www.org.za:
INSIDEPOLITICS_1164624537_ORGZA (insidepolitics.org.za) Democratic Alliance P O Box 1475, Cape Town, 8000
Now I’m all for political parties using the internet to get their message out but I think in this case there needs to be some transparency. And RSS feeds.