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Who is Lungile Phenyane? She is in the running for all top DA leadership posts

Who is Lungile Phenyane? She is in the running for all top DA leadership posts
DA Leader John Steenhuisen.(Photo by Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle)| Dr Mpho Phalatse. (Photo by Gallo Images/Luba Lesolle)| Lungile Phenyane. Photo: Supplied

Lungile Phenyane is listed to contest all the DA’s top positions, yet no one seems to know much about her. What is evident is her appetite to lead in the DA’s structures.

When the DA revealed who had been nominated to occupy the party’s six top positions on Wednesday afternoon, the name that caught everyone’s eye was Lungile Phenyane, the Tshwane Ward 59 public representative who has been nominated for all the positions. 

Not only is Phenyane contesting against party leader John Steenhuisen, she is also vying for the federal council chair against DA bigwig Helen Zille. 

A quick Google search will yield information about almost any individual, but in Phenyane’s case little was found on her after the announcement, not even a photo of her. She has no social media presence, no WhatsApp and no articles had been written about her.

By Thursday morning, reports were being filed on her as journalists rushed to find out more.

Speaking briefly to Daily Maverick, Phenyane said her decision to contest these positions is grounded in her desire to show that young people and women can also occupy top posts.

“It has been a couple of years [of being a part of the DA] but I have worked with the DA Women’s Network (DAWN) and youth. I have been an activist at branch level,” she explained.

The 36-year-old, however, seems to be “fairly unknown”, as DA Gauteng chairperson Fred Nel put it. “She has not held any positions but she is a legitimate member of the party,” he said.

However, DAWN Tshwane regional leader Sandy Mbuvha had no idea who Phenyane was and could not vouch for her. Instead, Mbuvha went to ask her colleagues in the party whether they had worked with her before, but received little to no information.

“She has never participated in DAWN, and I do not know her as the DAWN regional chairperson,” she said.

Read in Daily Maverick:Mpho Phalatse vs John Steenhuisen – who will win?

What has instead emerged from speaking to different individuals in Gauteng is that Phenyane only joined the party in 2022. Then she threw  her hat in the ring for every possible leadership position at an annual general meeting in her branch. However, she failed to garner support to lead as she was not seconded by any other members.

‘Last-minute’ nomination

DA presiding officer Greg Krumbock explained that the party had done the required vetting and that Phenyane had met all the requirements. 

He did, however, say Phenyane was nominated for the position at the last minute, just days before the closing date. 

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

Each name on the nomination list had to be seconded and then submit a number of documents, according to Krumbock.

Read in Daily Maverick:DA leaders back Steenhuisen ahead of April federal congress, but Phalatse confident of winning leadership race

Others who have been nominated include former Johannesburg mayor Mpho Phalatse, who is also running against Steenhuisen, and Dion George, who will be hoping to be re-elected federal finance chairperson. 

The most contested position seems to be deputy federal chairperson, which allows for three members to be elected. 

Anton Bredell and Refiloe Nt’sekhe want to be re-elected but have competition from Jean-Pierre (JP) Smith, Phenyane, Natasha Mazzone, Nqaba Bhanga, Shehana Kajee and Solly Malatsi.

For the deputy chairpersons of the Federal Council, the candidates are Annelie Lotriet, Ashor Sarupen, James Masango, Phenyane, Segope Sathekge, Thomas Walters and Tyrone Gray.

Ivan Meyer, Phenyane and Qhawekazi Mbatha are all vying to be federal chairperson. 

The DA said it was “pleased with the diversity of our candidates as well as the provincial representation and the age diversity”.

The nomination process ran between 6 February and 13 March. The party’s national congress will be held on 1 and 2 April. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    what one earth is Lungile hoping to achieve by making herself available for every position. at best she will manage to split the vote. not very mature and certainly not doing any good for those she wishes to show that young people and women can hold senior positions. but democracy reigns so good luck to her.

  • Rob Martin says:

    Sadly means that we are stuck with Zille.

  • Inga Lawson says:

    What a farce. Seems she has been accepted into the ring to a) Make Helen Zille’s election legit and unracially biased.
    b) To split the vote in favour of John Steenhuizen, against Mpho Phalatse
    c) Ditto for Ivan Meyer
    “ The DA said it was “pleased with the diversity of our candidates as well as the provincial representation and the age diversity”.”
    So fake. Real meaningful homework not done to make the DA a non-racial, multi-cultural party. I blame them as much for our lack of options as voters, as I am disappointed in the ANC.

  • Campbell Tyler says:

    Come on Inge Lawson. She has been accepted into the ring because she did what she needed to do, no more, no less. Imagine if they had excluded her. On what grounds? What would you have said then? Just compare the situation in Cape Town with the situation in Johannesburg and draw the obvious conclusion. You are as disappointed in the DA as you with the ANC?

  • Colin Murray says:

    I think Lungile Phenyane needs to show us what she is capable of before being given the top job .

  • Jopie Adam says:

    Time for change in DA at many levels if they want to appeal to millions out there wanting to change from ANC. Time for white male and female leaders to move on for better qualified folk on all levels. Need to see full CV of candidates

  • Ginny Swart says:

    No one seems to have heard of her or her accomplishments, if any. One thing you can say about her is that she’s got guts!

  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    The perfect leadership to keep all parties happy would be a joint leadership position with Steenhuisen and Phalatse – the perfect solution actually! This “Johnny come lately” person Phenyani is a red herring who would possibly change ranks at the drop of a hat – a member since 2022
    And her apparent lack of experience and qualifications ( other than she is black woman in a BEE world) does not bode well!

  • Neil Parker says:

    For what it’s worth my vote goes to Mpho. Perhaps DM could do a “spot poll’ online ?

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