Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
26 Oct 2019
1:05 pm

Maimane won’t succeed if he forms new party, analyst says

Citizen Reporter

Breakaway parties in South Africa have not found support in the past, Piet Croucamp says.

One South Africa movement leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Neil McCartney

An analyst has dismissed the notion that former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane will be able to gain significant support if he forms his own political party.

Political analyst Piet Croucamp told Bloemfontein-based radio station OFM that he does not believe liberalism has broad appeal with black voters.

“He tried to move the party to a social democratic party which I think is more likely to appeal to black voters and the black middle class,” Croucamp said.

He added that even if Maimane were to start a “social democratic party”, breakaway parties in SA are seldom succesful.

“There’s no history in South Africa of being successful if you break away from one of the two bigger parties.”

Croucamp did not mention the notable exception of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which was formed following the dismissal of Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu from the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), and grew significantly in this year’s elections.

The analyst told OFM that if Maimane does succeed, it likely won’t be through the adoption of a liberal platform.

“Maybe he will do it but I can’t see him being successful with that, especially if he tries to be liberal,” he said.

He noted that the DA will have an uphill battle in regaining black support.

“I think the biggest problem that the DA has is to try to get black voters back,” he said.

READ MORE: Maimane steps down as DA leader, Trollip resigns and Zille expresses disappointment

Maimane announced his decision to step down as DA leader at a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Bruma, Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The following day, he announced that he would be leaving the party as well as stepping down as its parliamentary leader.

The former DA leader’s full resignation speech can be read here.

Maimane’s resignation follows the release of a report commissioned by the DA, advising for an early party congress to be held “to allow for the election of a new leader”, also suggesting that Maimane should “consider” stepping down.

This after the DA lost roughly 400,000 votes in this year’s elections, the first since 1994 in which the party failed to grow.

The special review report, compiled by a panel consisting of former DA chief strategist Ryan Coetzee, former leader Tony Leon and Capitec Bank founder Michiel le Roux, called not only for Maimane to “consider” stepping down but for chairperson of the party’s federal council leading during the election campaign – James Selfe, as well as DA CEO Paul Boughey to do so too.

However, both Selfe and Boughey had already left the DA prior to the report’s release.

Selfe retired following 20 years as federal council chairperson, leading to the elections in which Helen Zille emerged victorious, a development that led directly to outgoing Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba’s resignation, and is believed to be the primary reason for Maimane and party stalwart Athol Trollip – who lost to Zille in the party’s federal council showdown – leaving too.

Boughey also resigned just days before the party’s federal council elections, saying he wanted to give the new federal council chairperson and the party’s leadership “the space to chart their own course”.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.) 

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