The DA elected Mmusi Maimane as leader in May 2015. He succeeded Helen Zille. File Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Durban - The upcoming ordinary federal council of the Democratic Alliance to be held in two weeks time has pitted two internal factions against each other, with one of them allegedly centred around party leader, Mmusi Maimane, who is backed by Athol Trollip, the former mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. 

According to some party members, Trollip is close to Maimane and has the backing of the national leader ahead of crossing swords with former party national leader, Helen Zille, who will be contesting the position of federal chairperson. 

The alleged faction opposed to the Trollip and Maimane camp is centred around Zille and it has members like James Selfe and Zille’s long time associate, Bonginkosi Madikizela, who has been quiet on the controversies around Maimane. 

Trollip is reportedly backed by Maimane and his ability to speak fluent Xhosa has made him friends with some leaders of the party’s so-called black caucus. 

A DA member from KZN  who would be taking part in the ordinary federal council said among those in the corner of the Trollip and Maimane camp, are DA public representatives such as Phumzile Van Damme, Mbali Ntuli, Herman Mashaba and other black leaders like Luyolo Mphithi.

“Many people like us are supporting Trollip,” said the leader, warning that Zille’s chances would be hampered by the fact that Mike Waters would compete.

The source said if Waters withdrew from the race, it could clear the path for Zille to emerge, as both Zille and Waters were backed by the same faction in the party.

However, both Zille and Trollip denied being members of factions when approached for comment. 

“That’s absolute nonsense! I’m not part of any faction and won’t be painted into that corner. Earlier in the week I was painted into a faction opposing Maimane, just shows how ridiculous this is,” Trollip said. 

Zille was very emphatic that her decision to run for the position was strictly to bring unity and stability in the party. 

“I am running for chair precisely to work for unity and stability. If elected, my job will be to support the leader. The leader and the relevant executives will give direction. I will co-ordinate implementation.,” Zille said. 

The fourth candidate who would be contesting the federal chairperson position is Thomas Walters, who is believed to have been the one who raised the issue of Maimane and the Cape Town mansion he registered as his while he was paying rent. 

Politics Bureau