Institute of Race Relations (IRR) policy fellow Hellen Zille has announced that she has put her hand up for consideration for the position of the DA’s Federal Council chair.
Sharing the news on her social media accounts, she said she had submitted nomination forms earlier on Friday after “careful consideration and consultation”, and being approached by senior leaders in the week.
“I did so earlier today (Friday), after being approached by various senior leaders throughout the week. The election, to be held later in October, will be to replace James Selfe, who is standing down from the position after more than two decades of service.
“In recent months, the DA has been through a period of turmoil and distress. As a party, it is important for us to reflect, to introspect and to begin the process of reconnecting with voters.
“If elected as chairperson of the Federal Council, my objective will be to support the leadership in its goal of stabilising the party and getting it back on track. I love the DA, and the values it represents – freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity.
“SA cannot succeed unless the DA succeeds. I am prepared to work hard and to play my part in saving our democracy,” she said.
The position is full-time and should Zille win it, it would mean she would be spearheading the DA’s day to day affairs.
Zille’s latest move follows her announcement in July that she had joined the IRR as a senior policy fellow, writer, and analyst.
On Thursday, she defended the right of one of the institution’s members, Hermann Pretorius, to pen an opinion piece calling for Maimane to resign as leader of the opposition.
The piece has caused a furore in the party after the IRR quoted the opinion piece in a tweet: “The seed of the DA’s recovery has been planted by a white man in the Western Cape. Alan Winde should be the new leader of the DA. Stand with the IRR…”
Speaking to SAfm on Wednesday, Zille said the words were taken out of context.
“The bottom line of his (Pretorius’) argument was not that he (Winde) needs to be a leader because he is a white male, although, taken out context, that sentence could be made to read like that… but if you read it in context, what he is saying is the DA has to get away from race. That is the ANC and EFF’s paradigm.”
Zille said in the interview: “The point he (Pretorius) was making was that the DA cannot be a race-driven party.
“We (the DA) must stand for something completely different and leaders must be chosen based on capacity and merit.
“Mmusi is the leader of the DA, but that does not prevent people from discussing leadership in the party and I am not going to condemn Pretorius for exercising his freedom of speech,” she continued.
Maimane has featured prominently in recent reports that detail scandals over his rented home and a donated car he was using in the Western Cape.
The DA leader, in a wide-ranging sit-down interview, reiterated to News24 that leaks and allegations of wrongdoing levelled against him were nothing more than a smear campaign from some within the party’s ranks who do not agree over the direction it should be taking.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko. Additional reporting by News24 Wire.)