The party, which was due to make its announcement today, postponed it to later this week to coincide with the announcement of the replacement of mayor De Lille.
Zille and De Lille were seen as powerhouses within the party.
With the race for Zille’s replacement drawn down to provincial leader and MEC for Human Settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela and MEC for Economic Development Alan Winde, experts say both candidates will have a tough task in following in her shoes and living up to her legacy.
Political analyst Simon Grindrod said Zille remained a dominant force in the DA and a formidable figure in its core constituency in the Western Cape, and was able to hold the party factions together with her strength and forward vision.
“Her style is in direct conflict with the weak and vague leadership of (Mmusi) Maimane, who has failed to communicate his vision clearly. Zille’s influence and personality will throw a long shadow over the party for many years to come.
“Madikizela is where he is thanks to the patronage and protection of Zille. He began in her mayoral office only two weeks after she won the city.”
Madikizela said, having gone through the party processes, he was confident of his chances. He said he had experience of the issues in the scuffle over the black and coloured vote and had the experience to navigate through the issues.
“I am a leader of a party that is voted in, by and large, by coloured people and those are the very same people who voted for me to lead them. I have a very good understanding of the issues affecting our communities across the board, whether it is white, coloured or black communities,” he added.
Winde said he believed that his experience in business, entrepreneurial skills and governance made him a viable candidate
He said the race-based voting phenomenon in the province would not put him off were he to be nominated. “Hopefully, I have proven in my track record that I have not based decisions on race but rather the whole of South Africa. Political pundits will try to create divisions among races and I will continue to try and build those bridges,” he said.