The DA’s new federal council chairperson Helen Zille has vowed to stay in her lane and assume the background role to that of party leader Mmusi Maimane, following her election to the post.
Zille said this during her debut media briefing in her new party post on Sunday at the DA’s headquarters on Sunday.
“I was very humbled and grateful in being elected and I know exactly what this role entails. I will stay in my lane. This is a job that coordinates different structures, function and systems of the DA,” she said.
Zille added that she would only participate when its required to ensure the structures and systems work for everyone to do the same.
Zille emphasized that she respected and supported Maimane, adding that she would do her best to ensure the leadership was successful and takes the party to new heights.
Maimane and Zille’s relationship had been strained in the past few years, with the party leader having to haul his predecessor before the public to apologise over the tweets she made on colonialism in March 2017.
Some within the DA have speculated that her return signalled the return of pure liberal ideals in the party, and could also quell Maimane’s attempts for the party to be more progressive.
Zille paid tribute to Maimane for holding a successful council meeting adding that she was there to support Maimane in his role.
In congratulating Zille, Maimane said the party had accepted a party-commissioned review panel report in principle and would give effect to some of its recommendations.
The review panel was commissioned by Maimane to assess the party’s losses in the recent general elections.
Chaired by former party leader Tony Leon, reports indicated that the review had made recommendations that Maimane step down as party leader.
This however was not addressed or confirmed at the press conference on Sunday.
During his opening remarks to the council, Maimane appealed to the party to convene a policy conference and an early congress to choose a new leader.
This strategy was seen by some as a way for Maimane to quell his detractors internally.
Maimane said a federal congress will be convened as soon as constitutionally possible and a policy review committee be established to sharpen the party’s positions on critical matters such as economic justice and jobs.