DA LEADER Mmusi Maimane addressing supporters at an election rally at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto during May, prior to the national elections. Picture: Jerome Delay / AP
JOHANNESBURG - The DA’s candidates for the position of federal council chairperson are in the final push before the election on Sunday by members of the council.

But analysts have warned that the election of either Helen Zille or Athol Trollip, who were considered front runners, would determine the direction of the DA.

The DA is holding the two-day federal council meeting in Johannesburg and this will culminate in the election of James Selfe’s successor.

Selfe has held the position for 20 years and former DA federal council chairperson Joe Seremane urged all candidates to unite the party.

Zille is contesting the position against Trollip, who is the former parliamentary leader of the DA, former deputy chief whip Mike Waters and deputy federal council chairperson Thomas Walters.

Head of politics at Unisa Professor Dirk Kotze said this was a crucial meeting for the DA.

“Helen Zille is a front runner and Trollip is a serious contender. This is quite a major event for the DA. The outcome will determine the future of Mmusi Maimane. If Trollip is elected he will support Maimane. He will not put pressure on him to resign. If Zille is elected it’s uncertain what she will do,” said Kotze.

He said the federal council would also take key decisions on the future of DA leader Maimane.

This followed the report of a panel and calls for Maimane to step down.

Maimane had commissioned the report after the DA dropped its support from 22.23% in the elections to 20.77%.

Kotze said the meeting would also decide whether to abolish the position of chief executive of the party.

This week DA chief executive Paul Boughey resigned from the party.

Kotze said if Zille was elected federal council chairperson it would change the balance of forces in the DA.

The DA had been caught up in factional battles in the run-up to the federal council with others calling for Maimane to go and others backing him.

DA provincial leaders in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, Limpopo and Gauteng have come out in support of Maimane.

This was after the Institute of Race Relations voiced support for Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to take over as leader of the DA.

Maimane had been under pressure since the reports emerged that he had been using a car loaned to the party by Steinhoff subsidiary Hertz and that he had stayed in a R4 million house in Cape Town owned by a businessman.

But the internal party process cleared Maimane of any wrongdoing.

The DA said the voting would be conducted tomorrow by its members and the results would be announced on the same day.

Politics Bureau