Athol Trollip re-elected DA federal chairperson

NMB Mayor says party has made a statement that it is truly a home for all South Africans

Trollip 'humbled' that DA election wasn't all about race

Returning Democratic Alliance federal chairperson Athol Trollip feels his party has made a statement that its 2018 congress election outcome was not all about race.

Trollip was re-elected for a second term as the DA's 'general' under leader Mmusi Maimane on Sunday during its federal congress in Tshwane, beating out Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga for the post.

He said he was humbled by the outcomes following a lot of debate coming into the congress around diversity and the make-up of the DA's leadership structures.

"I'm delighted that Mmusi ended the congress with the same words he started them with, that the DA is not a home for racists, or racism," he told News24.

"I think I am deeply humbled and have great respect for the party I represent and our values on diversity. I'm humbled that I could be re-elected when everyone said this position would be all about race.

"I think our party has made a statement that the DA is truly a party for all South Africans."

Other leaders elected include three deputy federal chairpersons: Ivan Meyer, Mike Waters and Refiloe Ntsekhe; a finance chairperson Dion George; and returning federal council chairperson James Selfe and his deputy Thomas Walters.

The new leadership was grilled at a press conference on Sunday about the fact that Ntsekhe was the only woman elected to the federal executive.

When asked about the lack of female leaders, Trollip quoted both Ntsekhe and Maimane's positions on the matter.

"Refiloe said she doesn't want to be elected because she's a woman, she wants to be elected on merit. Mmusi said he would love to have more women on the executive, and there is more work to do in that regard, but women also don't want to be tokens.

"The journalist who asked the question also answered it. We have had a woman leader. We've got women mayors. The ANC have never had a woman leader or president.

"So we're actually very proud and have actually gone way ahead of the ANC when it comes to the transformation of women.

"Look at the ANC top six. No different to the DA's."

Trollip said the make-up of the new executive was a fusion of continuity in the returning faces and an incorporation of new blood.

"Our congress evaluated our performance over the last three years and we met our objectives. But we're going to set our goals higher this time."

When asked what's next for the DA under his chairpersonship, Trollip said with a smile, "2019 (general elections). Government."

As for his own future in the Nelson Mandela Bay council, Trollip was confident that the return of a postponed motion of no confidence in his leadership would be defeated.

The motion will be debated on Tuesday.

"I believe very definitely there will be a result. Last time, the ANC and the EFF spent eight hours filibustering why they shouldn't put the motion. D-day is now Tuesday, we must put the motion and we must vote on it."

When asked if he thought the opposition could once again delay matters if they did not have the numbers going into Tuesday, Trollip responded,"I've long given up trying to predict what the ANC and EFF are going to do."