DA Mmusi Maimane is expected to announce his resignation. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

DA leader Mmusi Maimane is addressing South Africans on Wednesday afternoon to announce what is widely believed to be his resignation from the party's top job.

Maimane's press conference comes days after Helen Zille was elected to replace James Selfe as the opposition party's federal council chairperson, a move that is believed to be part of a plan by conservative senior members to elbow Maimane out because of his views on redress.

If this is in fact the case, it bears out Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba's criticism of the party he resigned from on Monday. 

"The DA no longer represents a party that is able to achieve what I desire most, a movement that can save South Africa, unseat the ANC and deliver one South Africa for all," Mashaba said during that press briefing. He went on to say that there were people within the party who did not believe in that race mattered or in ending inequality.

Mashaba flagged the election of Helen Zille as the party’s federal council chairperson as the last straw but said his work to turn around the city and deliver services to poor residents had also been frustrated by the DA caucus in the metro.

While Maimane threw his weight behind Zille after her election, Unisa political expert Professor Somadoda Fikeni speculated that soured relations, political and policy differences between Maimane and the former DA powerhouse could mean that his influence would wane in the party. What nobody expected though was that the cracks would widen so quickly.

WATCH MAIMANE'S SPEECH HERE:

Interestingly, the podium where Maimane is delivering his address has been draped in black cloth, obscuring its DA logo and party colours. What this means is not clear at this time, but is a highly unusual move.

IOL