Thursday, 24 October 2019 06:15

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.

His departure follows the resignation of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Monday. Mashaba resigned following Zille's election as the chairperson of the DA federal council. 
 
Mashaba's said Zille's election signalled a win for a faction in the party that had values he could not align with. 
 
He will remain as mayor until November 27 when a successor is chosen. 
 
Meanwhile the former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip has followed Mmusi Maimane's footsteps and has also decided to step down as federal chairperson of the DA.
 
He said it was his time to go. Trollip campaigned fiercely for the position of DA federal council chairperson. He lost the race to Helen Zille. "There is a time to come and a time to go. I realise that this weekend that it is my time to go. I am not going slag off my political party. I know that new leadership will emerge," Trollip said.