DA election candidates combine excellence and diversity - Zille

Statement issued by the Democratic Alliance leader, January 25 2009

The Democratic Alliance is pleased to introduce today a selection of our new candidates for the 2009 elections. These men and women come from a diverse range of backgrounds, but they all share a common attribute: a commitment to excellence and public service.

Excellence and diversity are the cornerstones of the DA's candidate selection process. We expect all our candidates to embrace diversity and offer distinguished service.

The DA takes an open, opportunity approach to selecting our candidates. This started with a clear job description for Members of Parliament, followed by a wide search for, and evaluation of, a diverse range of candidates who share the same values and fit the role they will be required to fulfil in service to the public.

Our candidate nomination regulations stipulate that DA public representatives must take responsibility for understanding the party's cause, which is to bring about an open, opportunity society for all in South Africa . They must demonstrate integrity, accountability and the capacity to perform the duties required of a Member of Parliament.

All our candidates went through a rigorous interview and assessment process that was audited independently.  We sought excellence far beyond the small network of "inner-circle" politicians who control the closed selection processes in most other parties.

Today, at the culmination of our selection process, the DA has produced lists of candidates for Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures that include many of our most experienced and dedicated incumbents, as well as fresh faces that are new to South African politics, a few of whom are here with us today.

Up at the front, we are joined by respected academic Wilmot James, highly regarded KwaZulu-Natal politician Khosi Mdlalose, well known radio personality Niekie van den Berg, former President of AgriSA Lourie Bosman, Head of Inspections for the Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons Albert Fritz, as well as Bev Abrahams and Lindiwe Mazibuko who have emerged with distinction through our own ranks. We grow our own timber and also look for the tallest trees in the bigger forest.

Let me introduce some of them, who were able to be in Cape Town at short notice today.  I am delighted to welcome Ivan Meyer, Khume Ramulifho, Bonginkosi Madikizela, Archie Figlan, Richard Majola, Anton Bredell, Allen Grootboom, Andrew Louw, Lebogang More, Winston Rabotapi and Masizole Mnqasela.

These are just some of our candidates for the 2009 election. All are in strong, electable positions and will add huge value to our caucuses.  Our full candidate list reflects the DA's growing support in every corner of South Africa.

The candidates on our list know that we have a shared mission. We must safeguard South Africa 's democracy and build the alternative to the ANC.  We are the proponents and promoters of the open, opportunity society for all. And we are here to make sure that the DA realises its vision and consolidates its status as a party of government after the 2009 election.

Statement issued by Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance, January 25 2009