Mmusi Maimane
Mmusi Maimane

Analysts believe the Maimane factor in DA will linger for sometime

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Mar 22, 2020

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Durban - Some political analysts believe that the continued practice by some DA leaders to associate themselves with Mmusi Maimane, is a sign of the network he created during his tenure as the party's national leader. 

And they believe that the network will be there for the foreseeable future as it runs deep. Some leaders in the party believe that they owe their rise to power to Maimane. 

The comments come after DA KZN leader, Zwakele Mcwango, raised eyebrows in the party when early this month he invited Maimane as one of his two “special guests” to the opening state of the province address in Pietermaritzburg.

Mncwango’s internal detractors are reportedly planning to get him hauled over the matter because they view it as “betrayal” as Maimane is now leading a party that will likely fish from the same pond as the DA. 

Seasoned political analyst, Protas Madlala said Mncwango’s support for Maimane started long ago. He said Mncwango has also been clear about his support for Maimane and other black leaders of the DA. Furthermore, Madlala said Maimane’s tentacles in the DA are still intact and there is a possibility that there are other black leaders who are quietly supporting but are afraid of coming out because they are protecting their jobs. 

“Of course there are people within the DA who quietly supporting Maimane but they will not show their hands because they financial obligations that need them. You have to be very careful but Mncwango is very brave and he does it openly,” Madlala said. 

Another political analyst, Thabani Khumalo, said it is clear that Maimane’s influence in the party is yet to wane. He attributed his charm to the fact that when he got elected in May 2015, a lot of black leaders in the DA were later elected in various provinces and lower structures of the party. 

According to Khumalo, most of these leaders believe that they owe their rise in the party to Maimane who paved ways for black leaders, hence their loyalty to him. 

“Most of the black leaders were backed by Maimane hence his continued influence. That’s when he resigned there were questions about the future of the black leaders in the party. It was feared that they may follow him and resign as well,” Khumalo said.

He added that the party’s policy conference which has since been shelved will be a decisive moment for most black leaders in the party. He said if they feel marginalised by the increasingly assertive conservatives who are coming back to rule - they are highly likely to leave the party and join Maimane. 

The spokesperson of the DA, Solly Malatsi, said the country is in the middle of dealing with the single biggest challenge right now which is the coronavirus and their number one priority right now is to play their part as the official opposition to help prevent it from spreading further and mitigate the devastating effects it may have.

"Notwithstanding this, our focus is to continue with the process of fixing our party, which is currently underway, including the upcoming policy conference and federal elective congress. In doing so, we prefer to focus on what we need to do to restore the growth of our organization rather than the business of former members or leaders of the party," he said.

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