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DA Federal Council meets ahead of party congress

Thousands of party delegates are expected to descend on the Pretoria showgrounds to deliberate on a number of policy proposals.

Democratic Alliance Ancillary Bodies, DA Youth and DA Women’s Network are convening for its Federal Congress in Tshwane. Picture: Katleho Sekhotho/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council is meeting on Friday in preparation for the party's congress which kicks off on Saturday.

Thousands of party delegates are expected to descend on the Pretoria showgrounds to deliberate on a number of policy proposals.

This will be the DA’s biggest ever congress and will draw over 2,000 delegates.

As the nation’s capital, the choice of Tshwane as the venue is a symbolic message of the DA’s intent of becoming a party of national government.

Party chief whip and federal council member John Steenhuisen says the organisation is ready to engage robustly not just on diversity, which has dominated the headlines, but on various policy proposals.

Some other key policy proposals on the agenda include slimming down the size of Cabinet.

On the economic and social fronts, the party wants the removal of VAT on sanitary products for women and a progressive double increase of the social grant.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane will kick off proceedings when he opens the conference on Saturday.

DAWN

The DA's Youth and Women's networks are set to vote for new leadership on Friday afternoon.

The women’s network's current leadership says while they started small, but they've been able to expand throughout the country.

This is the first such leadership election by the network, called Dawn.

Member of Parliament and retiring leader of Dawn Denise Robinson says they have been focused for a long time on the challenges women face, such as patriarchy and prejudice.

“We need to make all women, in fact all people, aware of what their constitutional rights are. They think democracy just means voting.”

Robinson says she’s always admired the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

“She was a fighter for human rights, she stood up against patriarchy and she was a force to be reckoned with.”

The new leaders will be announced later on Friday.

Robinson says she hopes that the network will grow and become a vehicle of change for issues facing women around the country.