Democratic Alliance (DA) federal chair candidate Helen Zille took to Twitter to slam a user for being a “disgusting racist” after he responded to a tweet from party leader Mmusi Maimane by asking if Zille had told him to say that.
Maimane was reacting to a headline in The Sowetan: “Black DA pushes back against Zille”.
“These kind of headlines are problematic and unacceptable,” he said.
“The DA is a non-racial organisation committed to building One South Africa for All.
“We may be having an internal contestation but we do not mobilise along racial lines.”
The story is about how longtime ally of Helen Zille, Western Cape DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, will be voting for her rival Athol Trollip in this weekend’s elections. These elections will see the party determine who would occupy the important position of federal chair following the departure of James Selfe.
The battle for the position is widely seen as being between Zille, part of the faction within the DA which wants to remove Maimane, and Trollip, seen as Maimane’s ally. The other two candidates, Mike Waters – a classical liberal who seems to have similar politics to Zille, and Thomas Walters – who has avoided publicity and has not made it clear what he stands for, are both seen as dark horses in the race.
Madikizela says his reason for backing Trollip is simply that he had already committed to do so by the time Zille entered the race.
“I am a man of my word,” he told the publication.
The story speculates that DA leaders such as the Eastern Cape’s Nqaba Bhanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Zwakele Mncwango, Limpopo’s Jacques Smalle, Free State’s Patricia Kopane, and Northern Cape’s Andrew Louw are believed to be backing Trollip.
While Gauteng’s John Moodey has said he’s undecided, he also said he disagreed with Zille and Waters’ politics, meaning he would most likely vote for Trollip.
You are a disgusting racist.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) October 18, 2019
These kind of headlines are problematic and unacceptable.
The DA is a non-racial organisation committed to building One South Africa for All. ????????
We may be having an internal contestation but we do not mobilise along racial lines. pic.twitter.com/5p3T5GwI8e
— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) October 18, 2019
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, 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.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)