I will remain premier, says Zille

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iol news pic at IEC centre  17 INLSA Leader of the DA Helen Zille at the IEC Election Results Centre in Pretoria. Photo: Chris Collingridge/The Star

Cape Town - DA leader Helen Zille has ruled out any possibility of quitting as Western Cape premier to lead the official opposition in Parliament.

Zille confirmed this to Independent Newspapers after speculation about her move back to Parliament in the wake of former parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko announcing she would not be returning.

DA Gauteng leader Mmusi Maimane is also not guaranteed the position as the party’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly. He will have to slug it out with the rest of the party’s 89-strong caucus.

Maimane, like other members of the party’s parliamentary caucus, will have to wait for the caucus to decide on his role once he’s sworn in as an MP on May 21.

Maimane confirmed he was going to the National Assembly, where many have hinted that he could be the party’s next parliamentary leader, despite having no parliamentary experience.

This followed Mazibuko’s shock announcement that she was going on a year-long sabbatical to take up a scholarship at Harvard University in Massachusetts. Mazibuko had been the party’s leader in Parliament for three years.

Zille said on Monday the party has already held meetings to discuss its future at provincial and national levels.

“We have decided I should stay in the province and fulfil my second term as premier,” said Zille, who will be the first premier in the province to serve a second term.

Asked if Maimane was guaranteed the leadership role, she said: “No, it is certainly not guaranteed. The caucus elects the new leader.”

Zille said she was “pleased” for Mazibuko in her new path.

“I am pleased for her. This is a wonderful opportunity for any person on as rapid a career trajectory as Lindiwe is,” said Zille.

DA staffers who worked closely with Mazibuko said they were not sure what their roles would be in the new Parliament.

Mazibuko also took to social media on Monday to thank people for supporting her in her decision. “Thanks so much everybody for the amazing messages & well wishes. I am sad to say goodbye, but excited about the coming year. Lots of love,” Mazibuko said to her 135 000 Twitter followers.

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