Over the past two days, the DA’s Federal Council (FedCo)– the party’s highest decision-making body in between Federal Congress – sat to elect a new Federal Council Chairperson, and to consider the report of the Organisational Review Panel established following the 2019 national and provincial elections.
Election of new chairperson of Federal Council
The election of a new Chairperson of Federal Council presents an opportunity of renewal and change for the DA. The position was previously occupied by James Selfe, who led FedCo for just under 20 years with the utmost distinction. I want to again thank James for his leadership, support and friendship. James is an unsung hero of South Africa’s democratic project and his valiant work has positively shaped the country we live in.
I want to congratulate Helen Zille on her election as Chairperson of Federal Council, and I look forward to the new energy, ideas and vigour that Helen will bring to the leadership collective of the Party. Helen has served the party in various positions over the past years, and brings experience and political clout second to none
Further, I want to call on all the candidates and members of the party to unite behind the new FedCo Chairperson. The election and campaigns are over, and now is the time to unite and work for the people with the future in mind.
Federal Council considered the Organisational Review Panel’s report. Following extensive deliberation, Federal Council adopted the following resolutions.
- That Federal Council expresses its appreciation to the members of the Review Panel and thanks them for producing their report. Federal Council accepts the report in principle and gives effect to recommendations in the following resolutions.
- That a Federal Congress be convened as soon as constitutionally possible, bearing in mind the administrative processes which should be concluded as quickly as possible to give effect to recommendations of the review process.
- That a Policy Review Committee be established, convened by the newly elected Chairperson of the Federal Council, to undertake a comprehensive policy review of the Party’s positions on a number of key matters, most particularly on economic justice and jobs. The process followed by the Policy Review Committee must involve consultation with Party structures and should be discussed by Provincial Councils. He or she must cause a policy conference to be convened before the Federal Congress.
- That Federal Executive determine the job description and key result areas for a new Chief Executive Officer. Federal Executive should also appoint an interviewing panel and should cause applications to be invited for this position as soon as possible. As is provided for in the constitution, the Federal Executive should appoint a CEO as soon as possible. The appointment be made for a renewable five-year contract.
- Dr Ivan Meyer, Deputy Federal Chairperson, must be charged with the responsibility for building teams at all levels of leadership and that his proposals in this respect should be considered by the Federal Council at its next meeting.
- That an investigation, the membership of which is approved by the Federal Executive, be undertaken under the leadership of Refiloe Nt’sekhe, Deputy Federal Chairperson, into the events surrounding the Party’s reaction to the event at Schweizer Reneke and the Party’s reaction to this as well as other issues highlighted on page 6 of the Review that were used to exploit racial divisions. Such investigation reports must be tabled before the Federal Council.
- That in preparation for the early Federal Congress, a constitutional review committee be established by the Federal Executive to give effect to the recommendations by the Review process and be charged with producing appropriate amendments to the Party’s constitution. Such proposed amendments should be workshopped through the structures of the Party. Such a constitutional review committee should inter alia consider term limits for the election of office-bearers.
- That a review committee be established to review the organisational and administrative structures of the Party under the direction of Natasha Mazzone, Deputy Chairperson of the Federal Council. This review committee to be approved by the Federal Executive. To the extent that such an organisational review results in recommendations that would affect the Party’s constitution, such recommendations should be fed into the constitutional review committee.
- That the committee established to consider the organisational and administrative structures of the Party, considers the advisability and practicality of establishing an advisory panel as proposed in the Review Panel as well as a crisis communication committee.
- That sections 6 and 7 in the Review Panel Report dealing with the Political Purpose, Culture and Values be networked and discussed with all branches and structures with immediate effect. Such networking should involve a guided discussion approved by the Federal Executive.
- That a proper assessment of the Party’s role in governments and communication thereon by our governments be undertaken by the Governance Unit urgently. Such assessment shall include polling in these governments.
- Focus is paid to all upcoming by-elections before 2021 which will require the participation of all required public representatives as allocated to roles, and as agreed to by national, provincial, regional and constituency leadership. A roll-out of by-election training is undertaken which requires the participation of all public representatives, relevant operational staff and other key role players in by-elections where appropriate.
- Focus be given to the 2021 elections urgently in order that the Party can recruit potential candidates and immediately conduct comprehensive and certified training for such candidates. That the Party undertake a campaign to interact with voters to communicate the Party’s core values that is aimed at winning the trust of voters.
The country is currently facing profound challenges noting the current Eskom rolling blackouts, the 10.2 million South Africans unemployed due to our collapsing economy, citizens continuing to live in fear due to the scourge of crime, and lack of access to basic services due to failing local governments and corruption. These challenges require a stronger and united DA because when the DA works, South Africa works.
We come out of this weekend’s Federal Council committed and reenergised to building One South Africa for All – accelerating our work in parliament as the official opposition to offer alternatives to the governing party and hold the national executive accountable. We further made a commitment to strengthen and capacitate our governments in their work of running clean, capable governments that deliver services to all.
It is now time to roll up our sleeves, and work with South Africans from all walks of life towards building a prosperous South Africa for all.