Former DA leader Helen Zille is the party’s new Federal Council chairperson.
According to numerous media houses live-tweeting at the council meeting, Zille has won the election, with the party saying she doesn’t play to lose.
This was also tweeted by DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi, although the party has yet to release a formal statement.
— SollyMalatsi (@SollyMalatsi) October 20, 2019
— Govan Whittles (@van1go) October 20, 2019
— Hitekani Magwedze (@HitekaniMag) October 20, 2019
BREAKING : Helen Zille is the new DA federal council Chair…..#DAFedCo
— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) October 20, 2019
Zille was competing against former DA Port Elizabeth mayor Athol Trollip, and members of Parliament Mike Waters and Thomas Walters.
Earlier, it was reported that the controversy that saw Zille face internal disciplinary action in the DA over her controversial tweets on the legacy of colonialism might have a bearing on her eligibility to run.
In 2017, she had briefly been placed on suspension for allegedly bringing the DA into disrepute after tweeting, among other things: “For those claiming legacy of colonialism was ONLY negative‚ think of our independent judiciary‚ transport infrastructure‚ piped water.”
DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced at a joint media briefing that Zille had agreed it would be in the best interests of the party for her to vacate her positions on all decision-making structures in the DA, which included her position on the federal executive, federal council and Western Cape provincial council.
Relations between the two have subsequently been strained, which Maimane himself has admitted to.
Zille’s new position as the party’s Federal Council chairperson has led many to question what this means for Maimane’s future within the DA.
The party’s internal squabbles – which have been aired in the public in recent weeks as different factions fight for the soul of the party – have led to speculation of possible splits if either the so-called liberal bloc or their ideological opponents, most of whom back Maimane, should win the battle for control.
Trollip, who was the party’s chairperson until Zille took over on Sunday, said earlier that her time within the party has come and gone.
Zille, however, said she was running because she believed the DA was in trouble and needed stability.
The federal council chair position is likened in the DA to the role of a CEO in a company or secretary-general in other parties, and the most recent incumbent was James Selfe.
Background reporting by News24 Wire