After almost a year since the resignation of Mmusi Maimane as leader of the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the party now gears itself elect a new leader. Since Maimane’s exit, the party has been rocked by numerous shock resignations and developments.
After serving four years as the party’s federal leader, Maimane hung up his boots particularly after blame was put in Maimane’s corner for the party’s loss at the 2019 national elections. This as the party’s national vote dropped from 22.3% in 2014 to 20.77%.
Shortly after Maimane’s resignation speech – another shock announcement followed, Athol Trollip followed suit, stepping down as federal chairperson of the DA. He had previously gone head-to-head with Helen Zille for the position of Federal Council chairperson and lost the race to her.
Zille’s return to the party saw Herman Mashaba and former Johannesburg Mayor also jump ship.
In November 2019, Steenhuisen was elected as the DA interim leader beating Makashule Gana. Whilst Ivan Meyer was elected as federal chair.
The leadership race is now down to a battle of the new and the old guard as DA interim leader, John Steenhuisen and member of the KZN legislature, Mbali Ntuli are vying for the party’s top position.
WATCH | Ntuli vs Steenhuisen leadership race
Ntuli, a former youth leader of the party, has suggested that she believes that she is more than capable to lead the party into a new era. “I fundamentally believe that the majority of people in the DA want to make the DA work again and we want to make South Africa work, with that said I want to announce why I’m running to be the leader of the DA and why I believe I’m the type of leader the da wants and why I believe I can unite South Africa.”
The race to lead the party also saw then DA Gauteng leader, John Moodey put also put his hand up. But months later a shock announcement hit the party with Moodey calling it quits from the party after serving for 22 years.
Leading up to the elective congress this weekend, the party held a first of its kind virtual policy conference in September due to the covid-19 pandemic where it adopted a policy of non-racialism. Party Interim Federal Chairperson Ivan Meyer says that high on its list of principles for the congress are ensuring delegate participation and inclusiveness.
However, numerous concerns were raised over the fairness of the virtual elective process and the alleged purging of Black people within the party. But the DA is sticking to its guns it says the virtual elective congress scheduled for this weekend will be the most accessible and fair process in the party’s history.
The congress is expected to see two thousand delegates participate. New leadership will be elected and resolutions to guide the party for the next five years.