Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
30 Jan 2022
12:56 pm

Bongani Baloyi ‘will regret his move’ to join ActionSA, says Zille

Thapelo Lekabe

Baloyi said the DA became ‘toxic’ when Zille was elected federal council chair in 2019.

Former DA member Bongani Baloyi is seen at a press conference in Sandton with ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba, 24 January 2022, where it was announced that Baloyi had joined ActionSA. Picture: Michel Bega

Democratic Alliance (DA) federal council chairperson Helen Zille says former party member Bongani Baloyi “will regret” his decision to join Herman Mashaba’s ActionSA.

Baloyi revealed in an interview with the Sunday Times his decision to terminate his DA membership – after 14 years with the party – was after the DA became “toxic” when Zille was elected federal council chair in 2019.

Baloyi’s move to ActionSA

Zille responds

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Zille said she saw the former Midvaal mayor in Johannesburg late last year, at his request, “to discuss his plans for his future DA career trajectory”.

She said the meeting was “amicable and pleasant”, suggesting that Baloyi never mentioned anything to her about the DA being “toxic”.

“I have never had one unpleasant interaction with Bongani. Quite the contrary. My prediction? I think he will regret his move,” Zille said in response to the story.

DA exit

Baloyi, who was undoubtedly one of the rising stars in the DA, terminated his party membership in December 2021, becoming the latest prominent black leader to leave the official opposition party.

At the time of his resignation, he said his departure was out of his “own agency” and “not because I am being purged or any nonsense”.

However, speaking to the Sunday Times, he said the DA had lost direction after its former leader and the party’s first black leader – Mmusi Maimane – left in 2019.

Baloyi said the party’s current leaders made decisions and utterances he could not defend in public and that is why he left.

“I don’t believe in whatever the DA is trying to do at this point in time.

“I don’t have anything personal against Helen Zille or John Steenhuisen for that matter, but the entire body [of the] DA and what it has become today is a space that’s foreign to me and I want to go elsewhere,” he was quoted as saying.

Maimane and Mashaba

Even though he officially left the DA in December, Baloyi said he ceased being a member of the party two years ago after Maimane and Mashaba had left.

He said he believed that the exodus of black leaders from the DA was due to the way the party became “extremely toxic” when Zille returned to its leadership structures.

ALSO READ: Bongani Baloyi terminates his DA membership

Premier candidate

Baloyi has been touted as a possible premier candidate for ActionSA in Gauteng ahead of the 2024 general elections.

Speaking at a press conference last week, Mashaba said Baloyi would join the party as a member of its senate – ActionSA’s highest decision-making structure.

He described Baloyi as a “great South African” and an excellent leader, saying his party was immensely proud to have him among its ranks.

“We are running a political party to save South Africa […] part of these plans depend on ActionSA deepening and diversifying its pool of leadership. Bongani Baloyi is the perfect example of what we seek to do,” Mashaba said.

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