Tensions rise ahead of DA elective conference

DA MP Masizole Mnqasela says party leaders should not attempt to influence one another’s votes.

DA MP Masizole Mnqasela says party leaders should not attempt to influence one another’s votes.

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance member of Parliament Masizole Mnqasela says the party's leaders are free to campaign ahead of its elective conference later this month.

But members should not be coerced into voting for certain favourites.

Mnqasela laid a complaint with the DA's Federal Legal Commission after Western Cape Deputy Leader Theuns Botha allegedly sent an email motivating why Wilmot James should be re-elected as its federal chairperson.

But Mnqasela, who is believed to be contesting the position, says Botha is preventing members from electing their own candidates.

"It will be in their best interests not to force those other people who may want to vote for their choice of candidates. I' saying if they want to do it, it's their democratic right but, they must not force people."

Meanwhile, a political analyst says no one has yet established themselves as a serious contender for the position of DA leader.

Former DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip believes Helen Zille must prepare to be challenged for her position at the party's next elective congress in 2014.

She stands unopposed for her post at the DA's federal conference later this month.

Political analyst Susan Booysen says it remains to be seen if current DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko can carry a big party.

"We have not yet seen the person that they have in mind. One can always see people who have not necessarily come through the ranks, suddenly jumping up and trying positions themselves."

Trollip says change is natural in a democracy.

"Helen Zille has done a good job and because of that she has been uncontested in this election. She is even talking about political alignment between now and 2019, which includes realignment of our leadership."