Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
17 Oct 2019
3:13 pm

‘The choice to step down or not remains entirely mine’ – Maimane

Citizen Reporter

'You can’t run a 21st century political party like it’s the 1980s,' the DA leader says. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. FILE PHOTO: ANA

During an interview on Power FM on Thursday, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane ruled out stepping down as leader, saying he would need to be voted out through an elective congress, adding that he had already called for an early congress to take place.

Asked if he was worried about “surviving” this weekend’s vote for the party’s new federal chair – which sees Helen Zille and Michael Waters, seen as his detractors, compete against Athol Trollip, seen as his ally, and Thomas Walters – he said: “This weekend is not about my survival.

“This weekend is not a congress,” he said. “The choice to step down or not remains entirely mine.”

According to the DA leader, the “point that’s going to be important this weekend is that we need to agree on whether we move forward and how we’ll move forward as a party”.

“Crucial resolutions are on the table’ about the party’s direction.”

He said he didn’t believe the DA should be a “party that simply is attractive to FF+ voters,” referring to some voices within the party who want to regain votes that the party lost to the Freedom Front Plus in this year’s elections.

“You can’t run a 21st-century political party like it’s the 1980s,” he said.

Asked by host Aldrin Sampear whether he was worried about a review council appointed to table a report on the future of the DA, which is expected to call for Maimane to stop down, Maimane said the council could not remove him.

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“The council cannot make that resolution. It’s not a congress.”

He added that “the reason why you go to congress” is for the party’s internal democratic processes to play out.

“There should be people who oppose your leadership, that’s natural, but that should be expressed in a vote.”

Maimane said his role as DA leader was not just to give those who he disagrees with “ice cream and make them happy,” and that in the course of his duties he would sometimes make unpopular decisions.

He stood by his decision to call for an early elective congress, saying the party should get this out of the way so they can be “ready for the next elections”.

Maimane made it clear that he had no problem with those who disagreed with him within the DA, only with those who used means other than discussion to show their grievances.

“The culture I’ve been speaking up against is that when some people lose the argument they try and prosecute it elsewhere. It’s undemocratic,” he said.

He brought up those who decided to “prosecute it in the newspaper”, referring to scandals covered in various publications and which appear to have originated within the party, such as one regarding the ownership of his home in Cape Town and one regarding a car donated to the party by Steinhoff.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.) 

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