DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube says the party has to make sure the best candidate is chosen for the job.

As the race for mayor of the city of Cape Town heats up, the DA on Monday said it would make sure the best candidate is chosen for the job and not on the basis of race.

ALSO READ: DA postpones Cape Town mayoral interviews ‘over selection dispute’

The party postponed its internal interviews for the top post that were meant to begin on Monday after a dispute arose over the selection of panel members.

The contest for mayor of Cape Town is between incumbent mayor Dan Plato, DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis.

DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said DA federal legal commission would adjudicate on the panel’s composition to ensure it conforms to the candidate nomination regulations.

“To the people of South Africa, we take this seriously. A mayor of Cape Town is somebody that we have to entrust with the flagship municipality, not just in the country but in the world, and we will make sure that it is the best person on the basis of merit that is chosen. It won’t be on the basis of whether or not they are lighter in skin colour or not,” Gwarube told Newzroom Afrika.

She was responding to a question on the controversy involving former DA leader Tony Leon, who last week was slammed on social media for saying in a recent interview with News24that Mmusi Maimane’s election as the party’s leader in 2015 “was an experiment that went wrong”.

ALSO READ: Maimane slams Tony Leon for calling him ‘an experiment that went wrong’

This led to questions over the treatment of black leaders in the party and whether Plato and Madikizela stood a chance of being elected Cape Town’s next mayor.

Gwarube said the DA had gone through a period of renewal and had to work hard to win back the trust of South Africans following Maimane’s departure and that of other party members in 2019.

“I think a lot of my colleagues, myself included, understand that here’s a former leader who’s written a book and has advanced a certain argument, whether or not you agree with that. And it’s up to Mr Leon to unpack and explain his utterances around this. Mr Maimane is also very much within his rights to have a response to this,” Gwarube said.

“We can’t let ourselves be distracted by the views of people who are no longer part of the organisation,” she added.

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