DA members in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) are holding their collective breath in the hope that former parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko will heed the call to stand as a premier candidate.
City Press understands that a number of people in both provinces have been calling on Mazibuko to raise her hand for the nomination process that is already under way.
Nominations for those who aspire to make the cut as DA premier candidates have until this Friday to make themselves known, after the nomination period was extended on Thursday for another week.
City Press heard from a number of members who are hoping that Mazibuko will agree to stand after a period of absence from politics.
Mazibuko resigned from her position as parliamentary leader to pursue her studies at Harvard University in the US.
A leader of the party in Gauteng told City Press that Mazibuko could be the much needed push to give the DA an advantage in the province.
“Lindiwe is a game-changer and the idea of her returning makes a number of people in the party quite nervous. She is a force. She has been noncommittal so far about returning, but we want her to stand.”
When asked this week whether or not she had been approached by members in the two provinces and whether or not she would agree to stand, Mazibuko responded by text, saying: “No comment from me, thank you. Thanks for understanding.”
In KZN, the party has been working alongside the Inkatha Freedom Party and has a number of coalitions in municipalities in the province where both parties are biting into the lion’s share of ANC votes in the province.
It has been expected that KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango will emerge as the premier candidate in that province. Mncwango told City Press that Mazibuko was free to contest any position.
“I am not sure where the story about lobbying came from, but Lindiwe has a right to contest any position within the DA. We have a process of appointing candidates and she is welcome to put her name wherever she feels her contribution will make a difference,” the provincial leader said.
Former MP Makashule Gana was first off the starting block in the race for the premiership candidacy in Gauteng.
The former youth leader has been running an intense public visibility campaign for the past two months.
When asked if he would fall back and allow Mazibuko to emerge as the lone candidate, he said his campaign was well on the go.
“The only person that can prevent me from standing now is the federal leader, Mmusi Maimane, should he indicate that he wants to stand.”
Based on the Constitution of the party, the party leader can move to the top of any list.
After next year’s general elections, the DA is looking to govern both provinces by way of a coalition.
In Gauteng, the DA will have to work with the Economic Freedom Fighters, who vote with the party in the two metropolitan municipalities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, alongside other parties who have a smaller share of seats in councils.
Once the nomination period ends, the electoral college of the party is then tasked with making the final selection on who will be the premier candidates for each province.