THE DA yesterday chose former Western Cape Premier Helen Zille as its new Federal Council leader to succeed James Selfe at their head offices in Bruma, Johannesburg. She held a press conference with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Simphiwe Mbokazi African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane is likely to face frustration and isolation within the party following the election of his predecessor Helen Zille as chairperson of the party's federal council at the weekend.

This is according to Unisa’s political expert, Professor Somadoda Fikeni.

Fikeni maintains that soured relations, political and policy differences between Maimane and the former DA powerhouse could mean that his influence would wane in the party.

This comes as the DA on Sunday concluded its meeting of the party's federal council in which it discussed the review panel report which looked into the party's leadership and bad electoral performance at the May 8 general elections.

“He might even be rendered insignificant even when he is still in power.

"Being the chair of the federal council, which deals with the core, the administrative part, Zille may actually criss-cross the country under the guise of trying to revive the DA’s administrative systems, only to campaign for the next leadership that will suit her,” Fikeni added.

Zille’s victory against other contenders, who included Maimane’s ally Athol Trollip, has been viewed as leaving Maimane’s political career hanging in the balance as she is said to be close to those who want him out.

Zille, who enjoyed approval from the party's traditional support base, has openly questioned the policy direction of the DA under Maimane, saying she was forced to run for the post because the party was moving away from its liberal values.

Maimane on Sunday also indicated that he might not seek re-election when the party held an early congress next year if the official opposition rejected his vision at its upcoming policy conference.

“I must deal with this policy conference because it (the policy conference) is coming up now and I actually want for our values and our principles to be given more life so that we can make a compelling offer to all South Africans. If that vision finds expression there, then you can lead,” he said.

Political Bureau