Former Western Cape premier and DA leader Helen Zille. File picture: ANA/Armand Hough

Johannesburg - Former DA leader Helen Zille’s successful return into the party’s top leadership will signal the decline of the party and its heist by conservatives.

This is according to political analyst Ralph Mathekga, who said the current attacks on party leader Mmusi Maimane and Zille’s contest to be chairperson of the DA federal executive council would see the dwindling of the party’s support.

Mathekga said Zille’s attack of Maimane’s vision and her close association with the views of the Institute of Race Relations meant that the current internal battles within the DA would escalate if she wins.

“If she succeeds it means that the party might move much, much more to the right and be more conservative where people want this kind of certainty. If the conservative constituency wins, it will be a very big challenge to Maimane and the growth of the DA. I wonder how they would really grow with Zille given her posture.

Zille is currently going up against federal chairperson Athol Trollip, deputy chief whip Mike Waters and deputy chairperson of the federal council Thomas Walters for the powerful post, which is being equated to be the de facto chief executive office of the party.

Mathekga slammed Zille as an opportunist for promising to return the DA to its old core values of liberalism if she succeeds in the race.

“What Zille is doing is promising security among the conservatives. That is what this is about, and it is security because it ensures that they don’t have to deal with this uncertainty that comes with having to be a multiracial party that is reaching out to blacks. It is a regression,” he said.

According to political analyst Tinyiko Maluleke, maimane had failed to effectively implement his vision within the party and that Zille’s legacy was still peppered throughout its structures, hence the challenge to his leadership.

“There is still a lot of Helen Zille (in the party) and maybe that is why she wants to return as the chair of the federal council," Maluleke said.

Mathekga however said it was the duty of the leadership of the DA to assure its traditional white constituency that the DA was not being taken away from them but that it was being strengthened to represent a shared vision of inclusivity.

“People are genuinely having anxiety about what the DA ought to be. The white constituency have known this party as their party and now the DA has black mayors in various towns and them cutting deals with the EFF. Anything that brings about change gets people rattled. They don’t understand the DA now because it is raising race matters and led by a black guy,” he said.

He said many black leaders and voters could revolt and leave the party if conservatives managed to boot Maimane out.

Political Bureau