Newly elected DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille alongside party leader Mmusi Maimane. They are flanked by DA national spokespersons Solly Malatsi and Refiloe Nt’sekhe. Picture: ANA/Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Former Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has been elected as the DA’s federal council (FedCo) chairperson at the party's council meeting in Johannesburg this weekend.

She replaces veteran council chairman James Selfe, who has stepped down after announcing his intention to resign the position after the May 8 general elections.

In a statement after the two-day sitting of the council on Sunday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane 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.

He also called on all the candidates and members of the party to unite behind the new FedCo chairperson. "The election and campaigns are over, and now is the time to unite behind our common purpose," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)