Johannesburg – When Lindiwe Mazibukoannounced last week that she was on her way back to South Africa, talk increased within the DA about nominating her as the party’s candidate for the post of mayor of Johannesburg.
Mazibuko withdrew from active politics in May last year. She suddenly quit her job as the DA’s parliamentary leader and announced she would be pursuing her studies at Ivy League university Harvard in the US for a year.
She has now received her master’s in public administration and will be returning from campus life in Massachusetts.
James Selfe, the chairperson of the DA’s federal executive and the man who heads its electoral college, thinks Mazibuko would be a good candidate.
“I can tell you that I’ve heard the same story and, obviously, if she is available and willing and capable, she would be a very attractive candidate.
“I have heard there are some people who may have invited her to make herself available,” he said.
Selfe added that the process of selecting a mayoral candidate for Johannesburg had not yet officially begun.
Last weekend, DA leader Mmusi Maimane hinted at the possibility of Mazibuko returning to active politics.
Independent Newspapers quoted him as having said: “Lindiwe was certainly not shoved out of the party like some were suggesting. I have made efforts to communicate with her. We would welcome her back with open arms.”
Party sources claim Mazibuko has been unofficially approached, while others have heard the rumours of her running for the Johannesburg mayoral office. They say the possibility is being discussed by the party’s leadership.
Last week, however, Mazibuko told City Press she had not been approached about running as a DA mayoral candidate.
“And I am not considering doing so,” she wrote by e-mail.
But she did not answer on whether she would consider such an offer.
While some in the party think she would make a wonderful candidate, they are sceptical about the powers that be in the party making the offer to her.
“It would introduce a second centre of power into the party,” said one.
Another source, an MP, told City Press that, despite current party leader Maimane being from Gauteng, his detractors were also mainly in that province.
The source said that by having Mazibuko based in Johannesburg for the campaign, a space – or at least a perception – would be created for them to strengthen around her.
The party’s national leadership recently met Gauteng’s provincial leadership to discuss a schedule for choosing mayors for the province’s municipalities.