DA MPL and the only woman in the party’s Eastern Cape legislature leadership, Veliswa Mvenya and MP Annette Lovemore, came out victorious during the party’s elective congress held in Grahamstown on Saturday.
They are the only women in the party’s newly elected provincial leadership. Mvenya was elected as one of the party’s two deputy leaders in the province and Lovemore as one of three deputy chairs.
“I’ve never contested before because I didn’t want people to think I wanted special treatment because I was black.
“I wanted to be elected on merit. I did not want to be elected for window dressing. This time I felt I was ready. I’m sure my presence will have a great impact on the party,” said Mvenya.
Speaking of Mvenya, DA provincial leader Athol Trollip said: “She’s one of the best people to lead the party against the challenges in the former Transkei and the Ciskei for that matter.
“She has an innate understanding of what the challenges are in the deep rural areas of this province.
“I find it exceptional we have leaders from both sides of the province. The DA stresses the importance of having leadership, rather than intsumpa (one leader).
“We have provincial leaders, we have deputy leaders and we have chairpersons and it’s all about spreading the load and making sure we have leadership across the province. I’m really excited about having Veliswa and Bobby Stevenson in that leadership team.”
Trollip’s position as the party’s leader went uncontested. Party insiders said he is one of the most powerful members in the party and it would have been “futile” for anyone to go against him.
The party’s leader Helen Zille said Trollip – a son of the soil – was the right person for the job.
Edmund van Vuuren (chairman) and Bobby Stevenson (deputy leader) also retained their seats. Van Vuuren defeated Nelson Mandela Metro councillor Nico du Plessis who challenged him for the seat.
Lovemore, MPL Pine Pienaar and Leon de Villiers are the newly elected deputy chairs.
“My vision as chairperson is to help grow this party in areas where the ANC has claimed ownership and to encourage our members and public representatives to be visible in our communities and to always attend to the needs of the people with the most professional demeanour possible,” said Van Vuuren.