Amid speculation over his future, DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s bench was notably empty when Deputy President David Mabuza answered questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
This did not go unnoticed in the ANC benches.
To be fair, there were many an open spot, on both sides of the aisle, for Mabuza’s second question session in just six days. But Maimane is in attendance more often than not.
When DA chief whip John Steenhuisen asked a question, several ANC MPs shouted: “Where’s Maimane?”
Steenhuisen carried on, unperturbed.
Later, the EFF’s Veronica Mente said it had never been in government. “Mashaba! Your mayor!” some ANC MPs shouted.
While Steenhuisen was in the middle of a heated exchange with Speaker Thandi Modise, someone in the ANC benches shouted: “He wants to take over from Maimane!”
Earlier in the day, Maimane’s now former colleague and “hero”, Herman Mashaba, appeared before a joint meeting of the portfolio committees on home affairs and cooperative governance and traditional affairs.
On Monday, he announced he would resign as DA councillor and mayor of Johannesburg with effect on November 27. This after former DA leader Helen Zille was elected chairperson of the DA’s federal council on Sunday.
After the meeting, in which Mashaba asked parliament’s help to get the Department of Home Affairs to do their job and document migrants, journalists pounced on him.
But he would not be drawn in to respond to questions like whether he would join another party or start another party with Maimane. He answered almost every question by saying that he had released a statement the day before, which he could provide if needed.
He did, however, laugh when someone asked him if it was true that he would start a foundation named “Liberal like me”.