Mmusi Maimane to continue as DA leader

Staff Writer | May 14, 2019
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane will continue in his position until 2021, the party has announced.

Mmusi Maimane will remain leader of the DA ‘until a Federal Congress, scheduled for 2021 decides otherwise’, according to DA Federal Chairman Athol Trollip.

He added that the party was ‘unambiguous’ in backing Maimane.

This is despite the party’s lacklustre showing in the recent elections, and consequent speculation that Maimane might be forced out as a result.

In a letter to DA staff, public representatives, activists and members yesterday, Maimane accepted ‘full responsibility for the outcome of this election’, adding: ‘I can honestly and in good conscience state that I did my very best and gave everything of myself in the run up to this election.’

He said he had commissioned an evaluation of the election results, to be chaired by an impartial person from outside the party.

Support for the DA in this year’s election fell to 20.77% from 22.23% achieved in 2014. It appears to have taken a particularly hard knock from the defection of many of its supporters to the Freedom Front Plus. Commentators held that the DA had failed to articulate a compelling offer to voters in the wake of the departure of President Jacob Zuma, that it had mismanaged problems both in the party and the governments it controls, and that it seemed to lack ideological direction. The approach adopted towards race issues at times seemed to suggest growing racial nationalism in the party, which was alienating to many of its supporters.

Maimane’s evident failure to manage these matters might have called into question the calibre of his leadership.

There have been calls for the DA to undertake a process of introspection in the wake of its electoral setback. Some, such as outgoing Western Cape premier Helen Zille, suggested that the DA needed to reconsider its stance on racial issues and recommit to non-racialism. Others, such as author and business executive Kaizer Nyatsumba, called for the party to rid itself of its residual liberalism, and commit to being a ‘social democratic’ party. He suggested that this would produce a more competitive political environment.

 

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