Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane coy about future, new party
Politics / 27 October 2019, 12:00pm / Siyabonga Mkhwanazi and Bongani Hans
Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s political future remains unclear despite swirling speculations of the formation of a new party.
But Maimane remained tight-lipped yesterday, saying he did not want to comment on any speculation and he wanted to take time off.
It was a dramatic week for the DA after Maimane’s resignation was followed by that of federal chairperson Athol Trollip, and chief whip John Steenhuisen.
Outgoing Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba fired the first salvo with his resignation earlier in the week.
Maimane said he did not want to be drawn into his future plans.
“I am not speaking at the moment. We want to reflect,” he said.
Meanwhile Trollip said he did not discuss forming another political party with anyone.
He said he believed that “knee-jerk parties don’t last as they are almost always personality based rather than ideologically backed”.
Trollip said he still believed in the DA although it needed to sort out leadership issues and decide “on what their trajectory is going to be in their endeavour to build one South Africa for all”.
The DA’s spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe said Maimane should be given space to reflect on the challenges ahead, including his resignation, and called for calm amid calls on social media and by political analysts this week for the former leader to consider forming a new liberal party.
Maimane resigned soon after Helen Zille was elected as the party’s federal council chairperson. He said the DA was no longer the vehicle for him to fulfil his vision about the country.
Nt’sekhe said Maimane should be afforded a place with his family as “he is now just an ordinary citizen of South Africa”.
During a panel discussion on eNCA’s Modise Network show yesterday, political analyst Prince Mashele said there was a need for a new political party, as he predicted that the DA would soon dwindle to a regional party based in the Western Cape.
“There is a need for a new party in South Africa that can unite both black and white, but that party should not be about faces, it must about a real plan that can change the life of the poor in South Africa,” said Mashele.
However, KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango said there was no need for a new party as the DA was still a relevant voice of the poor and marginalised - as long as it did not remove the issue of redressing the past from its Constitution.
He said after persuasion, the party’s federal council agreed to the hold policy conference ahead of its elective congress in April next year.
Mncwango said there was a view, which he did not agree with, that the marginalisation of black people by colonial and apartheid regimes should no longer be an issue in the party.
He said those views were not a reflection of internal racism as they came from white and black leaders, including former head of policy Gwen Ngwenya.
“There are those of us who are saying we must have redress in our policy, we must have an issue of (addressing) injustices of the past, and if we are defeated in the policy conference we will then decide whether the DA is still relevant or not,” Mncwango said.
He said those who disagreed with the redress should use the policy conference to contest their views.