The Democratic Alliance (DA) is facing one of its biggest challenges yet, following the resignation of Mmusi Maimane as the party’s leader.
Adding to the political party’s woes, there is also legal uncertainty about who will take the role of acting leader, as the federal chairperson, Athol Trollip has also resigned. Thereby leaving the DA without a leader at its helm.
During a press briefing on Wednesday, October 23, Maimane explained he made the decision after extensive deliberation.
While he is resigning as the party’s leader, he said he will continue to lead the DA’s parliamentary caucus until the end of the year, if the party so desires. However, he encouraged the DA to elect new leadership as soon as possible.
During the press briefing, Maimane explained how his goal was cement diversity as a core value within the DA while building the necessary support the ruling ANC party.
He said that he believed for the DA to become a party in government, it would need to look, feel and operate as a political party for all South Africans. However, he admitted the DA has an issue gaining the trust of the black South African population, as the party is often viewed as a party for minorities.
With this in mind, during his reign as the DA leader, the party shifted its focus to grassroots activism and enjoying a number of success in uniting people under the DA banner, shifting power in many of the country’s larger cities.
While stressing the aim of his focus was never to alienate white South Africans, but rather to promote diversity, he claims he has noticed there are people within the DA ranks who do not agree with him or the direction the party was taking.
This, he explained, resulted in coordinated attacks on him and on his leadership to ensure that his project failed.
While claiming the DA has been a vehicle to carry this vision, uniting people through diversity, Maimane believed the DA might not be the best vehicle for him to continue pursuing this vision.
It is expected that Annelie Lotriet, the chairperson of the DA’s parliamentary caucus will declare a vacancy in the position of the parliamentary leader, before replacing Maimane with John Steenhuisen, who is the current chief whip.
With a shift in leadership within the DA, what are your thoughts on the situation? Share your opinions with us in the comment section below.