The Democratic Alliance (DA) has announced that its federal council will meet on Sunday, November 17 to elect an interim leader and interim federal chairperson.
This follows the resignation of former leader Mmusi Maimane and former federal chairperson Athol Trollip.
Trollip’s resignation follows Helen Zille’s election as the party’s new federal executive chairperson.
Earlier on Friday, Zille confirmed on Twitter that the DA would next hold such a full congress in April, 2020.
She said the DA’s leadership had “steadied the ship” following a bruising week of resignations which also saw the DA’s Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba announcing he would step down towards the end of November.
“In the meantime, all structures are functional and stable,” Zille added.
“Parliamentary caucus elects a new leader within a week, who will appoint a new chief whip.”
JUST IN: The DA’s Federal Council will meet on Sunday, 17 November 2019 to elect an Interim Federal Leader and Interim Federal Chairperson. pic.twitter.com/I9laFGOyAm
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) October 25, 2019
Following Maimane’s resignation on Thursday, the party’s chief whip John Steenhuisen told EWN his term was over as it was linked to Maimane’s.
“The chief whip is appointed by the leader. Since he announced his resignation from parliament, my term ends,” he said.
This by no means spells the end of Steenhuisen’s career in the DA. His departure as chief whip could, in fact, lead to him earning himself a more important position, such as the new parliamentary leader, replacing Maimane, when the federal council meets.
Maimane confirmed on Thursday that he had resigned from both parliament and the party, following his announcement on Wednesday that he would be stepping down as DA leader.
“I have worked tirelessly to build the project of One SA for All. It’s been my greatest honour to serve the people of SA and will continue to do so. I have today resigned from the DA and parliament. Thank you to the people of this country for your faith in our nation. God bless SA,” he tweeted on Thursday morning.
Maimane said on Wednesday he would remain as the leader of the opposition in parliament until the end of the year, if the party would allow that. He added that there should be an early elective congress.
However, it was unlikely that he wouldn’t have faced strong opposition to his continued tenure in the National Assembly, since it’s understood the party’s parliamentary caucus, and his numerous critics in the party at large, were left fuming at what he said during his resignation speech. News24 reported that his words were met with “widespread indignation”.
Maimane hit back at his critics in the party during his resignation address on Wednesday in Bruma, Johannesburg, when he slammed the party’s approach to diversity and nonracialism, saying that “in the end we have come to the conclusion that despite my best efforts, the DA is not the vehicle best suited to take forward the vision of building one South Africa for all”.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Background reporting, Charles Cilliers.)