Current Western Cape MEC for Economic Opportunities Alan Winde has beaten out six rivals to win the coveted DA nomination for premier in the only province where the DA currently governs.
Announcing the decision in Cape Town on Wednesday, DA party leader Mmusi Maimane said: “I have no doubt we have chosen someone who is equal to the task.”
Winde is a veteran DA figure who has served the party in numerous different roles in the Western Cape, including acting as chief whip for the DA caucus in the Western Cape legislature.
Maimane paid tribute to the success of Winde’s department, saying that 640,000 jobs had been created under his watch. Winde, suggested Maimane, will be known as the “Jobs Premier” should the DA succeed again in 2019 in the Western Cape.
Winde described himself as “humbled and honoured” to have won the nomination race, and said that the job of governing the Western Cape would be a team effort.
Winde’s rivals for the position included a 23-year-old activist, Kelly Baloyi, and two well-known DA politicians in the form of DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and MP David Maynier.
The defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow for Madikizela, who did not stand for Cape Town mayor in order to focus on his premiership bid. As current leader of the DA in the province, Madikizela was long viewed as the logical choice to succeed Zille. Madikizela enjoys a close relationship with Zille and was believed to be the outgoing premier’s preferred candidate.
Maimane singled out Madikizela for mention during the press conference, thanking him for his “graciousness” in defeat.
“He has pledged his unequivocal support to Alan (Winde),” Maimane said.
Maimane confirmed that the three highest-scoring candidates for the role emerged as Winde, Madikizela and Maynier.
The selection panel that gave Winde the nod was made up of 10 members designated by the DA’s federal executive and 10 members designated by the provincial executive, DA federal executive chair James Selfe previously told Daily Maverick.
“The candidates undertook a written assignment which was assessed by an independent adjudicator. They were then asked to present their vision for the province to the panel and interrogated on that vision. They were also asked a series of questions. In addition, their performance assessment as a public representative was taken into consideration. All these elements were combined to produce a score,” Selfe said.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Maimane was repeatedly asked about the last-minute turn of events which saw the party leader consider standing for Western Cape premier himself, before deciding against it.
Maimane said: “A request was made for me to consider standing, and I think it’s fair enough. What persuaded me (not to stand)… was about making sure we continue our national project.”
He stressed that the decision not to stand was his alone.
Maimane said that the fact that the DA’s final list of premier candidates across the country will include both women and white South Africans was a tribute to the party’s diversity.
If the DA wins the Western Cape in 2019, Winde will be only the second DA representative ever to serve as a South African premier. His predecessor in the role, Helen Zille, has served two consecutive terms as Western Cape Premier and in terms of the Constitution is ineligible for a third.
Also present at Wednesday’s press conference was the next mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, who will follow Patricia de Lille’s divisive tenure from the beginning of October.
The DA will now be hoping that the pairing of Plato and Winde will provide an alluring prospective leadership duo for Cape Town voters come 2019 – following a tumultuous year marked by the water crisis and its political fallout.
Maimane used Wednesday’s briefing as an occasion on which campaign for the DA’s continuing governance of the Western Cape, saying that the province was experiencing an “economic boom” in contrast to the rest of the country.
But the party leader also struck a candid note, adding: “This DA government is not perfect. This province is not perfect. There’s still a lot of work to be done.” DM