Gauteng DA provincial conference postponed as branch audits delayed


The DA in Gauteng has postponed its provincial congress until 14 November due to the delay in its federal audit of branch annual general meetings (AGMs).

In an internal communiqué, outgoing DA provincial chairperson Mike Moriarty said the date was subject to the confirmation from the federal executive.

Moriarty said the delay of the federal audit of branch AGMs would delay the drafting of the voters' roll and the signing-off process.

He added that the party's decision to allow all branches, which could not previously launch the opportunity to try again by the 20 September deadline, was another reason for the postponement.

The congress was meant to be held on 26 September.

Speaking to News24, Moriarty said the province launched 88% of branches by the deadline. However, the audits were not finished and this would impact audit deadlines.

The DA is preparing for its national congress in October.

Moriarty said only 54 of the 350 branches failed to quorate, adding that it would not influence the national elective congress.

"The 54 branches are having an opportunity to quorate and that is the only bearing on the elective congress."

In July, he told News24 the real question around the party congress would come after the AGM audit deadline on 1 September."If we have successfully held AGMs with people who are comfortable, then I would say confidently, 'yes you can have a successful congress,'" he told News24 earlier.

He is expected to contest against federal council chairperson Helen Zille.

The party's factional battles have given way to furious debate with regard to the virtual conference.

Although the idea was endorsed by the party's federal executive, some party leaders raised questions over its viability during lockdown.

There was also an argument that a virtual election would exclude the poor, especially considering access to technology and areas where there is poor network coverage.

Another argument is that it would be unfair to interim leader John Steenhuisen's competitors for the top spot – Mbali Ntuli. John Moodey, who was also contesting for the top job, resigned from the party earlier this month. Moodey was the DA's Gauteng leader.

In July, Ntuli argued that holding the AGMs put members and staffers who have to oversee processes at risk of contracting the virus.

"We will be asking members to get into taxis, sit in a hall, hold an AGM and then get back on taxis to go home – all so we can elect a leader in October," said Ntuli.

She also said the party could not guarantee that all its members would have the ability to self-isolate if they became sick.

"We cannot guarantee that they will even have the ability to access quality healthcare should they take a turn for the worst," Ntuli added.

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