Mmusi Maimane safe for now, but big review brewing

DA leader Mmusi Maimane and the party’s federal council chair, Athol Trollip, at the Independent Electoral Commission’s Results Operations Centre, in Tshwane, on Thursday
DA leader Mmusi Maimane and the party’s federal council chair, Athol Trollip, at the Independent Electoral Commission’s Results Operations Centre, in Tshwane, on Thursday
Image: PHILL MAGAKOE /AFP

DA leader Mmusi Maimane was missing in action at a DA media conference about his future following the official opposition’s 1.4% decline in electoral support in the general election.

The media conference followed a meeting of the party’s federal executive committee hot on the heels of reports that the DA’s old guard was baying for Maimane’s blood.

However, during the conference on Monday, DA federal council chair Athol Trollip said the party would take collective responsibility for its election performance and Maimane would remain party leader at least until the end of his term in 2021.

According to Trollip, the party’s misfortunes at the polls are attributable to rising racial nationalism globally and the party’s internal challenges.

Asked what these challenges were, Trollip was not willing to elaborate.

He said the party would first consult its provincial structures.

“I know there has been a lot of speculation around the DA’s performance and even speculation about our leader [Maimane] and I would like to read this statement that comes out of the federal executive from today’s deliberations,” Trollip said.

“We were faced with internal challenges and significant changes in the political landscape – the rise of nationalism on both the right and left occurred.

“Both externally and internally there were matters that we had to grapple with.

“These factors had a role to play in our electoral fortunes.

“As the members of the federal executive we all take responsibility for the outcome of these elections, whether good or bad. That burden does not sit on the shoulders of any individual.

“There has been much speculation about the future of our leader, Mmusi Maimane, and we would like to state that he remains our leader until the next congress, scheduled for 2021, and at that congress the party shall decide whether he continues as leader.”

Trollip said the party would review its entire leadership structure.

Federal executive committee chair James Selfe said this was nothing new and had happened in 2004 during Tony Leon’s tenure as leader.

“As a result of that we changed the way we selected candidates . . . the way we evaluated public representatives . . . we changed how our structures were represented,” Selfe said.

“What we want to do with this coming review is see whether [our] systems are still appropriate for the bigger party that we are at the moment and see whether they are appropriate for a constituency different to that we had in 2004, so we will be reviewing all our systems and all our structures.”

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