South Africa 27.4.2015 10:30 am

KZN’s new DA leader calls for unity after division

Zwakele Mncwango. Pic: Twitter

Zwakele Mncwango. Pic: Twitter

Newly-elected Democratic Alliance leader in KwaZulu-Natal, Zwakele Mncwango, yesterday extended an olive branch to those within the party opposed to his election, calling on his former opponents to put their energies into growing the organisation in the province.

“It would be important for people to understand there was no individual winner or loser in the elections. There was only one winner – the DA,” he said.

Mncwango, 37, defeated his rival and incumbent Sizwe Mchunu by five votes at the party’s provincial congress held in Richards Bay, northern KZN on Saturday.

“Going forward, there would not be any Zwakele or Sizwe camps anymore but only one team – the DA,” he said.

“Everyone will be valued irrespective of the side they were on during the build-up to the elections. My job is to unite the party and ensure a great performance in the 2016 local government elections – I can only succeed in my new position if I have a strong team behind me.”

Mncwango, currently the DA eThekwini caucus leader, bagged the DA’s top spot following a bruising contest between him and Mchunu during the build-up to the conference.

Tensions between the two saw Zwakele lodging a formal compliant with the DA’s national leadership against Mchunu, whom the new provincial leader accused of setting up a WhatsApp group aimed at tarnishing his image ahead of the provincial elective congress.

The group, which comprised some of the DA’s senior members, such as the party’s members of parliament – Diane Kohler Barnard, Greg Krumbock and Tim Brauteseth – had been exchanging messages on WhatsApp in support of Mchunu ahead of the conference.

Yesterday Mncwango said he had put all that behind him, and now only wanted to increase the DA’s support.

“We will be engaging traditional leaders in preparation for the 2016 local government elections,” he said.

 

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