Phalatse’s political future on knife edge

South Africa – Soweto – Phalatse to contest for DA Federal leader. 30 January 2023. Former mayor of Johannesburg Dr Mpho Phalatse held a press brief at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Soweto to announce that she will be taking on John Steenhuisen for the DA top position as Federal leader. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

South Africa – Soweto – Phalatse to contest for DA Federal leader. 30 January 2023. Former mayor of Johannesburg Dr Mpho Phalatse held a press brief at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Soweto to announce that she will be taking on John Steenhuisen for the DA top position as Federal leader. Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 5, 2023

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Johannesburg - Dr Mpho Phalatse has suffered yet another political blow to her career. The former mayor has now been replaced as the DA City of Joburg caucus leader.

The Star can confirm that Belinda Echeozonjoku is now the DA’s Johannesburg caucus leader after Phalatse declined to run for a second term as caucus leader.

Phalatse had lost favour with most of her caucus members because of her controversial relationship with ActionSA and her failure to keep the DA in Johannesburg in charge.

The medical doctor suffered a shocking defeat against DA federal leader John Steenhuisen, receiving around 16% of the votes in the showdown for the party’s top position.

At the weekend, the Sunday papers reported that Phalatse’s husband, Brutus Malada, had resigned from ActionSA.

Malada was apparently involved in the controversy surrounding Herman Mashaba’s book written by political analyst Prince Mashele.

Phalatse said that she would announce plans for her political career soon. She said those who thought her career in the DA was over should patiently wait for her announcement.

“They just need to be patient. I will communicate at a suitable time. I will speak about it at an appropriate time,” she said.

In a previous interview, Phalatse indicated that she would remain in the DA even after suffering a humiliating defeat at the federal congress.

When The Star contacted Echeozonjoku for a comment on her role as Joburg caucus leader, she said that she would have a full statement once the results of her election were officially announced, but as it were, she was unopposed. Her election was expected to be announced today.

Also, Echeozonjoku was expected to announce her vision for the City of Joburg in her acceptance speech today.

“All I can say is that things will never be the same again in Johannesburg,” she said.

Echeozonjoku joined the DA as a community activist in 2014 and was elected vice-chairperson of the DA Women’s Network for Joburg East in 2017. She is a published author and a former MMC for development planning.

A highly placed source in the DA told The Star that the party’s national leaders were disappointed in Joburg’s caucus leader’s performance.

“She was given an opportunity, and she threw it back at the same people that had confidence in her. It’s time for the DA in Johannesburg to have a new face,” the source said.

The DA was not the only party in the city that was experiencing changes.

ActionSA’s Nkuli Mbudu also announced his resignation. In a statement, the party’s Herman Mashaba said he would be working closely with Mbundu to prepare for the 2024 polls.

The Star

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