DA urged to broaden candidate talents

DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga was re-elected unopposed at the party's provincial congress on Saturday.
DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga was re-elected unopposed at the party's provincial congress on Saturday.
Image: Judy de Vega

DA Alfred Nzo constituency leader Baxolile Nodada wants the party to be a little more flexible when selecting its public representative candidates. 

Nodada tabled a motion during the party’s provincial congress on Saturday which saw DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga and chair Andrew Whitfield re-elected unopposed.

Chantel King and Bobby Stevenson were elected as deputy provincial leaders  while Vicky Knoetze, Yusuf Cassim and Wonga Potwana were elected deputy chairs.

Nodada’s motion, which was seconded by MP Mlindi Nhahna, moved that good performance in an interview should not be the only determining factor as to who became a successful candidate.

It also stated that a balance should be struck between the applicant’s education level and a track record of working among voters.

He said a uniform selection criteria for the Eastern Cape was not working and therefore a suitable criteria for rural areas needed to be developed.The motion was adopted.

Nodada said on Sunday one of the reasons he had brought the motion forward was because his constituency was very rural.

“I’ve worked here for a number of years as the chair of Daso, then as the constituency leader.

I’ve discovered that you sit in the selection panel and there you realise that people that went through interviews, people you know personally and have worked with on the ground, don’t do so well

“I’ve discovered that you sit in the selection panel and there you realise that people that went through interviews, people you know personally and have worked with on the ground, don’t do so well.

“This could be because they don’t speak English very well and can’t articulate themselves in English and sometimes this can be seen as a problem.

“They end up not doing well because interviews aren’t their thing but yet you know this person is entrenched in the community and they are essential ground workers, driving the issues of their communities,” he said.

Nodada said what the DA could do was capacitate such people and train them for the interview process to give them  a fair chance.

“I want us to create a fair platform and equal opportunity for people who haven’t had the opportunity for a formal education but are good with community service. This was the spirit of the motion,” he said.

Whitfield said any motions carried at the congress became resolutions of the congress and must be implemented over the next three years.

“What is very helpful is that there was another motion which said we need to have a system that manages, monitors and measures the implementations of these.

“At the first provincial council we’ll table a measurement tool which will monitor all the resolutions and then we can report to every provincial council, which meets quarterly,” he said.

During the congress, Nhanha said the motion was not about lowering the standards of the DA but about giving those who had  the ability  to work on the ground a chance to be considered a candidate on the same level as those who do well in interviews.

Whitfield said a lot of the time motions were designed to make a point and the intention behind Nodada’s motion was something the DA already embraced.

The motion is a reminder and a wake up call that we need to institutionalise it, and we’ll work on it going forward

“Anyone’s record — in a community organisation, on-the-ground interaction with voters, who has a local community profile — is incredibly powerful for any political organisation, and definitely it is a factor that’s weighed in when considering candidate.

“It’s no use selecting candidates without a public profile.

“The motion is a reminder and a wake up call that we need to institutionalise it, and we’ll work on it going forward,” he said.

Whitfield said looking at the direction that politics should go, people wanted to directly elect their representatives.

“In the current party system we need to put up candidates that people feel represent them and their community.

“It’s a very good motion from that point of view. We’ll make sure the motion is implemented and that the provincial council takes ownership of it,” he said.


Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

X