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DA snubs its eThekwini caucus leader

Nicole Graham. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu/African News Agency (ANA)

Nicole Graham. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 25, 2021


DURBAN - THE DA has surprised many by not choosing its current eThekwini caucus leader, Nicole Graham, as mayoral candidate in the local government elections.

This was regarded by many as a vote of no confidence in Graham, who has led the party caucus since 2018.

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Furthermore, the party had used her to contest against current mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, who replaced Zandile Gumede. Graham also contested the deputy mayor’s position during the full council meeting last month.

The Daily News has been reliably informed Graham was placed number two on the list. The preferred candidate was councillor Rory Macpherson. His son, Dean Macpherson, is a DA MPL and KZN provincial chairperson.

A source said that placing Macpherson above Graham was a sign the party would appoint him to be the next caucus leader and, eventually, contest for the mayoral position when the council sits and elects a mayor after the elections.

Various sources within the DA gave different reasons for Graham’s “snubbing”.

A senior leader, who is in the KZN legislature, said there were two reasons why Graham was kicked out. The source said the party was not happy with how she had led the caucus, and her relationship with other members was not in good standing. The source said Graham’s popularity had waned among the party’s eThekwini members.

The source said national leadership’s decision not to announce the eThekwini mayoral candidate could be punishment for the province for always disagreeing with the national leadership.

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Other sources said it could be punishment for Graham’s decision to contest against Francois Rogers for the provincial leadership early this year.

“Look at the votes she received during the conference held in Durban. It was her stronghold. She received less than 100 votes, while her rivals, Rogers and Emmanuel Mhlongo, scored way above that. The party may have feared that she was not a strong candidate,” said a DA councillor in eThekwini.

Dean Macpherson dismissed the rumours. He explained that eThekwini, Buffalo City in East London, and Mangaung in Bloemfontein, had adopted a different approach to the rest of the country.

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Macpherson said that in eThekwini, the party took a decision to focus on winning more wards, in addition those it won in 2016. Macpherson dismissed the notion that the party had lost trust in Graham’s leadership.

“She was included in the provincial executive committee, as the leader of the DA in eThekwini. The party has confidence in her leadership. The position of a caucus leader can go to anyone. I recused myself from the selection process because of possible conflict of interest,” Macpherson said.

Graham said she respected her party’s decision not to announce the mayoral candidate and refused to be drawn into speculation that the DA has lost trust in her.

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She said she would abide by the party’s decision on her future.

Daily News

Related Topics:

DACity of Ethekwini