DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the party must broaden its appeal to “attract more black South Africans”.
Writing in his weekly Bokamoso newsletter, Maimane said the party could not only be “the voice of minorities”.
“Therefore, however challenging it may be, the DA needs to win the trust of the majority of South Africans. We cannot contend ourselves with being the voice of minorities; we must broaden our appeal to attract more black South Africans too.”
Maimane’s comments will be read in the context of the two-day federal council meeting this weekend when members will discuss the party’s future.
The review panel’s report will also be discussed following the DA’s poor performance in this year’s national and general elections.
Maimane said the review had assessed the party’s “leadership, policy, structures and operations”.
A total of 155 members will also vote to elect a new federal council chairperson, with the winner likely to strengthen or weaken Maimane’s hold on the party.
Former leader Helen Zille, ex-Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip as well as DA MPs Mike Waters and Thomas Walters are vying to succeed James Selfe who has served in the position for just under 20 years.
Zille, who was once seen as Maimane’s mentor, is backed by the liberal bloc in the party, while Trollip is close to the DA leader and will likely enjoy the support of Maimane’s backers.
Water and Walters are seen as the dark horses in the race.
The party is divided, with one camp favouring a return to its liberal roots and another backing a more inclusive approach that accommodates race in developing policy positions, most notably on the issue of redress.
Maimane wrote that “the focus must be about building the DA of the future and reversing the losses from 2019” in electing its federal council chairperson.
DA chief executive officer Paul Boughey announced his resignation from the party on Thursday afternoon.
The party said it “noted” his decision and wished him “all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for his service to the DA and commitment to the broader democratic project”.
Also on Thursday, the Mail & Guardian reported that the review panel’s report recommended that Maimane should step down.