Against the Patronage Amendment - Concerned DA Delegates

Party leaders caution warn against allowing provincial leaders to be full participating members of selection panels

Federal Council: The Patronage Amendment

Dear Federal Council Delegate,

At the meeting of the Federal Council this weekend, we will discuss a proposed amendment to the Regulations for the Nomination of Candidates.

The “Patronage Amendment” seeks to make it possible for Provincial Leaders to be full participating members of Selection Panels. It reads as follows (proposed additions to the existing Candidate Regulations are in bold and underlined):

9.11 Prior to deliberating on the merits of the candidates and to the provisional ranking in terms of sections 9.12 and 9.13, the selection panel or panels may be addressed by the National Leader or his or her nominee, the Provincial Leader (if he or she is not already a member of the Selection Panel, or attending it by virtue of the entitlement conferred by section 7.6 of the Federal Constitution or a similar provision in a Provincial Constitution), and/or the premiership or mayoral candidate. Such Leader(s) and/or candidate may, on this occasion, specify his, her or their perspective on the requirements of the relevant caucus as far as racial and gender diversification, expertise and geographic spread is concerned. Provincial Leaders who attend selection panel(s) may provide advice and must ensure fairness and adherence to procedures, but may not otherwise participate in its or their proceedings.

This is a seemingly small and innocuously worded amendment. However, what it does, is to open the door for Provincial Leaders to sit on and participate in Selection Panels. Up until now, the Candidate Regulations have expressly precluded Provincial Leaders from participating in Selection Panels.

We, the undersigned, believe that allowing Provincial Leaders to participate as members of Selection Panels will have far reaching and harmful consequences for the internal workings of the DA in this election, and in years to come.

The “Patronage Amendment” will have the effect of making Provincial Leaders extraordinarily powerful in the candidate selection system, more powerful than any other person or elected body in the party.

Provincial Leaders already have significant influence in the red flagging of candidates, in nominating members of the selection panel, in being members of electoral colleges, in editing the final lists, in addressing the selection panels, and as candidates whose election in the number one slot is guaranteed.

The addition of the very significant influence and power attached to being a de facto full member of the selection panel would make the Provincial Leader virtually omnipotent in the candidate selection process, with enormous scope for abuse and patronage.

We contend that the amendment, as proposed, would make the Provincial Leaders players, coach, referee, captain and selector, all simultaneously!

If this amendment is adopted, it will enable a Provincial Leader to entrench a loyal support base by rewarding a network of key lieutenants, regardless of any objective criteria or suitability to serve as a public representative.

It should be pointed out that the deployment of Provincial Leaders as full members of Selection Panels is already explicitly forbidden under the current Regulations for the Nomination of Candidates.

Section 9.5 of the Regulations says that “the following persons may not be eligible to be members of a Selection Panel:

(iii) a member of an Electoral College;

(iv) aspirant candidates or approved aspirant candidates;

(v) persons who have a demonstrable personal and/or financial interest in

the outcome of the selection process; or

(vi) any other person who has a demonstrable conflict of interests.”

Provincial Leaders are already automatically members of Electoral Colleges. They are all (presumably) aspirant candidates to the national Parliament or a provincial legislature. They have a demonstrable personal interest in the outcome of the selection process (both as aspirant candidates, and as prospective caucus leaders). And their membership of these Selection Panels would give rise to conflicts of interest.

It is therefore absolutely clear that Provincial Leaders should not serve as members of Selection Panels and the Patronage Amendment should be rejected.

We, the undersigned, feel strongly about this, which is why have put our names to this letter. We believe that many more of you feel the same as we do, and we invite you to join us in challenging the Patronage Amendment at this weekend’s meeting.

Kind regards,

Concerned Delegates:

1.  Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela (Western Cape Provincial Leader)

2.  Joe McGluwa MPL (North West Provincial Leader)

3.  Natasha Mazzone MP (Deputy Chair of Federal Council)

4.  Minister Ivan Meyer (Deputy Federal Chairperson)

5.  Mike Waters MP (Deputy Federal Chairperson & Deputy Chief Whip in the National Assembly)

6.  Minister Nomafrench Mbombo (DA Women’s Network National Leader)

7.  John Steenhuisen MP (Chief Whip in the National Assembly)

8.  Cathy Labuschagne MP (DA Leader in the National Council of Provinces)

9.  Minister Anton Bredell (Western Cape Provincial Chairperson)

10. Heinrich Volmink MPL (Johannesburg Region Chairperson)

11. Cllr. Grant Twigg (Western Cape Metro Chairperson)

12. Erik Marais MP (Western Cape West Region Chairperson)

13.  Jaco Londt MP (Western Cape East Region Chairperson)

14. Shehana Kajee (KwaZulu-Natal Deputy Provincial Chairperson & DA Women’s Network KwaZulu-Natal Leader)

15. Mark Wiley MPL (Chief Whip in the Western Cape Provincial Legislature)

16. Minister Debbie Schafer

17. Minister Albert Fritz

18. Minister Anroux Marais

19. Geordin Hill-Lewis MP

20. Greg Krumbock MP

21. Gavin Davis MP

22. Dean MacPherson MP

23. Thulani Ngonyama (non-public rep delegate)

24. Derrick America MP

25. James Lorimer MP

26. Sizwe Mchunu MPL

27. Alf Lees MP

28. Marian Shinn MP

29. Kevin Mileham MP

30. Ricardo MacKenzie MPL

31. Tsepo Mhlongo MP

32. Kate Lorimer MPL

33. Beverley Schafer MPL

34. Cllr. Gert Combrink