By Carien du Plesssis and Christelle Terreblanche Political Bureau

DA federal chairman Joe Seremane is set to be replaced by another black person, DA MP and former academic Wilmot James, as the party continues its efforts to change its image.

Seremane has indicated that he will retire at the party's federal congress this month.

He confirmed on Monday that he had been approached "by people across the board" to stay on, but said he had decided to make space for fresh blood.

"I already announced before the last elections that I will retire from Parliament, and I have an extended family that I want to attend to," he said.

James, a respected academic, was one of the new faces appointed by the DA to its parliamentary lists before last year's general election.

Seremane and former Gauteng leader John Moodey, both black, were also approached for this position, while six out of the nine nominations for the three positions of deputy federal chairpersons were also black.

The federal chairman's position is considered by some within the party to be a high-ranking political position - like deputy to the national leader - while others have said that it is largely a ceremonial position.

Despite acknowledgments by DA strategists that the party needed more black faces in its leadership in order to expand its voter base among black voters, sources within the party have said nominations were done purely on merit.

Supporters of Moodey, who was defeated as Gauteng chairman, said his replacement by former MP Janet Semple was a setback for the efforts to penetrate the black constituency.

Moodey said he had declined nomination for the post of federal chairman because he wanted to focus on his job in the Gauteng Legislature and on his studies.