The Democratic Alliance (DA) federal executive are expected to hold an urgent meeting today following its leader Mmusi Maimane's resignation from his position in the South Africa's main opposition party.
Maimane announced his decision to resign on Wednesday afternoon ending months of speculation on whether he was going to be removed.
The DA’s spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, confirmed that the party’s constitution had never foreseen a situation where both the federal chairperson and the party leader resigned from their positions at the same time. “There is a leadership vacuum,” he said, saying that an urgent meeting of the federal executive would decide on how to deal with the crisis.
Maimane would remain as the MP and leader of DA in parliament until the end of the year.
Speaking at a press conference in Bruma, Maimane said that he had set out to free South Africa from the oppressive leadership of the ANC, and it was his love of South Africa that had led him into politics, despite not being a politician.
He said his vision was for the DA to transform into a party for all South Africans. Maimane reflected on his time as the leader and how he had changed the party to become something that more people could relate to.
Maimane defended his plans for growing the party, and said he was proud of the fact that the DA had taken charge of coalition governments in the important Gauteng metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane.
He said the DA could “never be a party about one race”, and that building diversity should be about expanding opportunities for all people. He said he had always advocated for more black people to join the party, particularly black women, in the interests of creating a more diverse party.
“We’ve made some tough decisions. We’ve fought many battles.” He referenced his differences with former leader and new federal executive chairperson Helen Zille, saying they had remained respectful towards each other.
He said he maintained that her comments about colonialism certainly did not help the party.