DA leader Mmusi Maimane pulled no punches on Saturday as he faced up to party critics calling on them to leave the official opposition if they disagreed with his leadership, Sunday reports have said.
Maimane has found himself in a power struggle since the announcement of Helen Zille’s intention return to party leadership.
He was speaking at Bruma, Johannesburg where discussion on party leadership continued behind closed doors as 155 delegates descended on the party’s headquarters.
Maimane is up against “true liberals” among party ranks who felt his leadership steered the DA away from its core values, City Press reported an insider as saying on Sunday.
The report said Maimane spoke out strongly against ill-discipline which resulted in public spats between top tier leadership within the official opposition.
He called those who wanted to split from the party to leave and do so, but never named anyone.
Maimane has been critical of the party pandering to minorities in recent weeks and made a call for a focus of black voters.
The Sunday Times reported that the DA leader was apparently “sick and tired” of people who were working to divide the DA, and told those described as “pure liberal” detractors: “There’s the door”.
Chipping away at the ANC with the EFF
During his speech, Maimane reportedly said that while the partnership with the EFF in metros was not ideal, it helped take power away from the ANC.
His grip on the party though would be significantly loosened if Zille wins the federal council chair position that is expected to be announced, the Sunday Times reported.
However, if Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip, who is Zille’s competitor, should win, Maimane stands to see his position strengthened, the report said.
The paper said that while Trollip garnered support from the majority of provincial leaders, Zille was a favourite among delegates.
News24 reported on Saturday that a report recommended Maimane make an early exit, flagging him as the man responsible for the party’s electoral failure.
The rumours were further fuelled by the resignation of party CEO Paul Boughey whom sources had earlier told News24 was also cited in the report.
News24 previously reported that Maimane proposed the DA hold its first “policy conference” and has repeated a call for an early elective congress, as a much-anticipated federal council meeting kicked off.