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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09CAPETOWN42 2009-03-04 13:26:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Cape Town
Cable title:  

CANDIDATES FOR WESTERN CAPE PREMIER

Tags:   PREL PGOV KDEM SF 
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VZCZCXRO9149
PP RUEHDU RUEHJO
DE RUEHTN #0042/01 0631326
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041326Z MAR 09
FM AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2968
INFO RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 6308
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 2097
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 3235
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAPE TOWN 000042 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM SF
SUBJECT: CANDIDATES FOR WESTERN CAPE PREMIER



1. (U) Summary. The race for the Western Cape has gained momentum
as political parties announced their candidates for the Premiership
of the province. The Democratic Alliance's (DA) candidate is Helen
Zille, currently the mayor of Cape Town and the leader of the DA.
The Independent Democrats (ID) have nominated Patricia De Lille, who
is the founder and leader of the ID as well as the head of the party
in Parliament. Newcomer, the Congress of the People (COPE),
announced that Dr. Allan Boesak will lead the Party in the province.
It is expected that current Premier Lynne Brown will receive the
African National Congress (ANC) nomination, although the ANC has
only confirmed that she one of its potential candidates for Premier,
along with ANC Western Cape party chairman Msebisi Skwatsha. End
summary.


2. (SBU) It was heavily reported in the press that after much
internal discussions, the DA leader and Cape Town mayor Helen Zille
announced that she would be the party's premier candidate in the
province. Zille said that the party was working towards obtaining a
majority in the Western Cape so that it could form its own
government, but did not rule out the possibility of a coalition if
necessary. She hoped to wrest control of the province from the ANC
and make it a showcase of competent DA governance that will impress
voters around the country, but added that she would remain Mayor if
not elected as Premier. She also confirmed that she would not be
leading the DA in Parliament. This is in line with what Poloff was
told when she met with Zille as well as in a recent meeting with
Ryan Coetzee, one of two DA members tipped to be the new leader of
the DA in Parliament. Coetzee said that the DA is happy to work
with the ID and COPE in a coalition government, but would exclude a
coalition with the ANC because, "the whole purpose of the DA is to
increase democracy by decreasing the ANC's current stronghold."


3. (U) The ID officially announced that party president, Patricia De
Lille, would be campaigning for the position of Premier while also
remaining in the top spot on the party's national list. This means
that if De Lille fails to secure the Premiership for her party she
will still lead the ID in Parliament. At a press conference De Lille
reiterated her party's willingness to form a coalition if necessary,
but stressed that the ID would not do so at the expense of its
identity or ideology.



4. (U) Newly formed political party, COPE was expected to announce
its candidate for Premier of the Western Cape on February 23, but
the announcement was delayed when its preferred candidate, Professor
Russel Botman, declined the nomination. The party was then forced to
rely on its second choice, Dr. Allan Boesak, to accept the
nomination for the Province's top post. Boesak was formerly the ANC
leader of the Western Cape, but was politically sidelined by the ANC
after his conviction in 1999 on fraud and theft charges over donor
funds for which he received a six year prison sentence. In 2005, he
was given a presidential pardon by former president Thabo Mbeki.


5. (SBU) The ANC is likely to confirm current Premier Lynne Brown as
its candidate for Premiership. There is some speculation that
Western Cape party chairman Msebisi Skwatsha could receive the
nomination, but it seems that he is far to divisive even within the
ANC to allow him to run for Premier. In December, Skwatsha was
sidelined by the ANC for failing to register several ANC candidates
in the local by-elections in the Western Cape. The ANC subsequently
Qin the local by-elections in the Western Cape. The ANC subsequently
blamed losses at the polls on Skwatsha's failure to register the
candidates. (Comment: Although the ANC has publically blamed
Skwatsha for failing to register candidates in the local
by-elections and the subsequent losses suffered by the party, Post
wonders if this was a strategic move by the ANC. The ANC would not
have wanted to suffer huge losses to COPE and the DA ahead of a
national election as this may have resulted in voters losing
confidence in the party. By not registering candidates, the ANC is
able to save face as the party can attribute the losses to the
failure to place the candidates on the ballot, rather than not being
popular enough in the province. End Comment. ) Although Skwatsha is
still party chairman in name, he is essentially a "lame-duck." The
Chief Whip for the ANC, Nyamnai Booi, told Poloff that after the
by-election fiasco, the ANC sent in other members to run the party
in the Western Cape and also said Skwatsha is no longer allowed to
make any decisions regarding the party in the Western Cape without
consulting others.


6. (U) Comment. The race for the Western Cape will be heavily
contested in the upcoming national election. The City of Cape Town
is already in the hands of the opposition alliance headed by the DA
and the ANC has been struggling to regain its foothold in the
province. The Western Cape is the only part of the country in which
the ANC is not dominant. Opposition parties have established a
foothold in the province, and, as a consequence, have focused on
shoring their base in this part of the country. End comment.


7. (U) Comment. The DA can rely on Zille's achievements as Mayor
when campaigning in the province, while the ID's De Lille has a
strong following among the colored communities. COPE's choice of
Allan Boesak for Premier could garner a lot of the colored votes,
which is key in the Western Cape, but, could also ultimately harm
the party since he is a controversial figure with a criminal record.
If COPE wishes to campaign on a family values and an anti-crime and
anti-corruption ticket, Boesak could damage COPE's credibility.
There are fears that his less than favorable past could be used as

CAPE TOWN 00000042 002 OF 002


an election platform for the DA who is expected to campaign heavily
against corruption and fraud. This past weekend COPE went on the
offensive in an attempt to diminish any attacks on Boesak's past. At
a rally in Paarl, Boesak, accompanied by one of COPE's Deputy
Presidents Sam Shilowa, told supporters that he took the fall for
the ANC and accused the ANC of keeping silent while he wrongly went
to jail for helping the liberation struggle. With the fairly recent
emergence of COPE and the strong gains made by the DA in the recent
by-elections it appears unlikely that the ANC will make any
significant gains in the Western Cape despite recently deploying
members to manage the party in the region. End comment.