Thu Oct 27 16:50:20 CAT 2016

First competitor for Leon's position

By unknown | Jan 12, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Waghied Misbach

Waghied Misbach

The succession race in the Democratic Alliance (DA) is hotting up.

Athol Trollip, a relatively unknown Eastern Cape leader, has become the first DA member to announce that he will run for Tony Leon's position.

Trollip, 42, made his announcement yesterday, marking the beginning of a succession battle until the party's congress on May 5 when Leon steps down.

Other possible contenders include the DA's chief whip, Douglas Gibson, national chairman Joe Seremane and a hot favourite, Cape Town mayor Helen Zille.

At a press conference yesterday Trollip said he had informed Leon that he was going to make the announcement.

He said Leon did not want to get involved and will not give his support to anyone.

Trollip said he also spoke to other possible contenders for Leon's position.

He said Zille had told him she had not decided if she would make a bid for leadership.

An outsider in the battle is Ryan Coetzee, known for his infamous "fight back" election campaign strategy.

There are indications that Coetzee might not run for the position.

The DA is white- dominated and has struggled to win black support.

Trollip said he considers himself a "white, but black on the inside".

He introduced himself in isiXhosa at yesterday's press conference.

Trollip said he plans to expand the party into black areas while consolidating the party's current white support base. He said race should not be the criteria for people being elected to party positions.

Trollip said this to the ANC: "The ANC has grown complacent in power and arrogant in the exercise of it.

"It treats opposition, both in its ranks and without, with contempt and disdain."

He also slammed the government's record on health care, education and crime.


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