CAPE TOWN - DA Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille has said the decision of Mmusi Maimane and Athol Trollip to resign from the party's leadership structure meant there was a "challenging road" ahead for the party.
Maimane resigned as leader of the official opposition while Athol Trollip quit as federal chairman, creating a leadership vacuum for the official opposition party that weakened in May by losing 1.5% of support in the national elections.
"I will today step down as leader of the DA," Maimane told a press conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Maimane said he had wrestled with the decision for days and would remain the party's parliamentary leader. However, he added, he would urge the DA to call a national conference and elect new leaders early in the new year.
His resignation follows that of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, who stepped down in protest at the return of former party leader Helen Zille to active politics as the chairwoman of the DA's federal council.