Johannesburg - Former DA leader Helen Zille has emerged as the new chairperson of the party's federal council following a fierce contest for the powerful post.
On Sunday, the DA concluded its crucial two-day FedCo meeting in which it discussed the party's report on organisational review and elected James Selfe's successor.
Zille went up against former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip, former deputy chief whip Mike Waters and deputy federal council chairperson Thomas Walters.
With an internal push for the removal of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, Zille's victory is viewed as a serious blow for Maimane. Zille was among those who were critical of Maimane's leadership.
In a statement, Maimane congratulated Zille and said the election of a new federal council chairperson "presents an opportunity for renewal and change for the DA".
"The position was previously occupied by James Selfe, who chaired FedCo for just under 20 years with the utmost distinction. I want to again thank James for his leadership, support, and friendship. James is an unsung hero of South Africa’s democratic project and his valiant work has positively shaped our country.
"I want to congratulate Helen Zille on her election as chairperson of federal council, and I look forward to the new energy, ideas, and vigour that Helen will bring to the leadership collective of the party. Helen has served the party in various positions over the past years, and brings experience and political clout second to none," Maimane said.