Things in the Democratic Alliance (DA) camp appear to go from terrible to more terrible. After a noteworthy loss of support at the May elections and savage inward quarreling, pioneer Mmusi Maimane has struggled to get his party back on the right track. More terrible still for the opposition leader is the discussion encompassing dodgy financial connections to former Steinhof boss, Markus Jooste.
While the DA has formally ‘found no wrongdoing’ with respect to Maimane’s R4-million Cape Town home and 2016 campaign vehicle, new reports show that the hatchet hanging over the pioneer’s situation of intensity is held by a pitiful string. It’s supposed that former DA leader, Tony Leon, hosts shaped an assignment of gathering individuals entrusted with removing Maimane from power. It’s accounted for that Leon and his task team will ask Maimane to step down.
This new development comes in the wake of a hostile article, written by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), which asserted that Maimane’s days as DA pioneer were numbered, and that he was probably going to be supplanted by Western Cape head, Alan Winde.
Winde denied any expectations to replace Maimane and a few of the party’s individuals thrashed the ‘unethical’ IRR report. Moreover, Helen Zille, who led the DA somewhere between 2007 and 2015, has entered the race for a prominent party position in the wake of leaving office prior this year. It’s been uncovered that Zille, who had joined the IRR as a senior policy analyst in July, will be competing for the position of federal council chairperson.
Meanwhile, Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said he believed right-wing elements within the DA wanted to get rid of Maimane and take over while forcing others to seek new political homes.
“I am angry and disappointed by the cowardly act of some racists within the party who claim to be liberal. If they don’t want to see a DA with black and white members, they must pack their bags and go and live in Orania,” Mashaba said.
His sentiments were echoed by DA leader in Gauteng John Moody, who said some individuals did not want to see the party united along racial lines.
“But they won’t deter us, we are going ahead as a united front. They slander Mmusi’s reputation with some cheap politics.”
Moody said those who organised the car deal for Maimane must be named and shamed because he “wasn’t even part of the negotiations”.
DA leader in Kwazulu-Natal Zwakhele Mncwango confirmed that he also got a sponsored car for the election campaign.
Mncwango said it was sad people within the DA were running a media smear campaign against its leader.
Federal council member Khume Ramulifho questioned the motives of those gunning for Maimane, saying they appeared to be trying to split the party.
He lambasted the IRR, saying it was encouraging divisions along racial lines to weaken Maimane.
“We must introduce policies that are aimed at redressing past imbalances,” Ramulifho added.
Sources claimed that those plotting against Maimane were his former allies including Zille, Mike Waters, Ghaleb Cachalia, Dean Macpherson, Belinda Bozolli, Maimane’s former chief of staff Jordine Hill-Lewis, Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schaefer, former Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and DA federal chairperson Athol Trollips.
It was unclear where chief whip John Steenhuissen stood, they added.
The alleged plotters against Maimane have all denied wrongdoing.
“People (are) trying to discredit me for the upcoming internal elections to say I’m part of a factional battle which I’m not and will never be. I despise what is currently happening,” Msimanga said.
Waters said he had been advised not to speak to the media.
Hill-Lewis declined to respond.
Trollip denied being part of the plot against Maimane. “That’s rubbish. I don’t think there are many people who have worked harder or done more to encourage diversity in the party.”
Cachalia said he was unaware of any plot to topple Maimane.
“Mike Waters is a friend and a colleague. There is nothing sinister here. I have never attacked or smeared Mr Maimane. We have agreed and disagreed on issues internally – as colleagues should. That is surely the very stuff of democracy. If Mr Maimane is embattled, I am not the author of his embattlement,” he said.
On being part of the “1955 committee”, Cachalia said the ’55 initiative was simply formed to discuss and debate issues and ideas .
UWC political analyst Professor Bheki Mngomezulu said with Zille now contesting the federal council chairperson position, Maimane should “start packing his bags and place them next to the door of his office”.
“The writing was on the wall as early as they persecuted Patricia de Lille, that Maimane was next in line, but it was not easy to attack both because they were mindful of the elections. – Additional reporting Bongani Hans and Siyabonga Mkhwanazi