Yesterday’s expectation was that Mmusi Maimane would quit as Leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA). That became official in a media briefing at 5.36pm today.
Maimane’s convinced that the DA isn’t following it’s slogan of being one nation for all; embracing diversity that would emancipate black South Africans. He said that his difference in direction had resulted in him coming under attack from his own party members.
“Despite my best efforts, the DA is not the best vehicle to build one vision for South Africa… I will step down as Leader of the DA… it has become quite clear to me that there exists a grouping within the DA who do not see eye to eye with me, and do not share this vision for the party and the direction it was taking. There has been for several months a consistent and coordinated attempt to undermine my leadership and ensure that either this project failed, or I failed. This extended to the smear campaign that was run on the front pages of an Afrikaans weekly paper in an attempt to destroy my name and my integrity. This cowardly behaviour has put my wife and two young children in great danger as pictures of our home were published in the media… I have spent the past few days doing just that alongside my wife. And 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. It is with great sadness that in order to continue the fight for this vision I so strongly believe in, and the country I so dearly love, I today tender my resignation as leader of the Democratic Alliance. I will continue in the role as parliamentary leader until the end of the year, after which the party will go to Congress to elect new leadership…”
Maimane gave particular thanks to ex-Federal Council Chair James Selfe and DA Federal Chair Athol Trollip, two of the blue party’s oldest and most well known figures. Trollip had backed Maimane to remain as leader, and Maimane in turn backed him to become the Council Chair, the position Helen Zille took this past Sunday.
Trollip, who was rumoured to soon return as the DA’s Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, was the unexpected earthquake at the briefing. He quit politics completely. He stated that the DA’s actions against Maimane was overreach yet clouded the reason for his resignation by saying that he did so for his fault in the poor election results.
Yesterday, Herman Mashaba became the first to protest against a DA under the direction of Zille – he resigned as the DA’s Mayor of Johannesburg. Although there seems to be more to that story, Maimane’s writing was on the wall when he took a verbal stab at Zille by calling Mashaba a “hero”.
Before that, but less dramatically, Maimane supporters James Selfe and CEO Paul Boughey, quit their positions.
Helen Zille admitted that what happened today was a shock. She said that “politics is a difficult space.”
The DA is in crisis from which it’s unlikely to recover from.
BLAMING MAIMANE ALONE IS WRONG
The DA (and biased media supporting it) has laid too much blame on Maimane for the party’s poor showing in the 2019 General Election.
The loss of 470,000 national votes seems less important than the threat of losing Cape Town in the 2021 Local Government Elections. The city is the DA’s head office and initial cadre deployment zone. From there, they won control of the Western Cape province but are currently holding onto some towns with slippery fingers guaranteed to become oilier.
To blame Maimane and benefit from the damage is disingenuous. He would never have become the DA’s leader without strong support from Helen Zille. Additionally, she encouraged the party’s shift from liberalism to black populism at the expense of minorities.
Zille’s no different to Donald Trump and Boris Johnson who used populism to gain power. The difference is that Trump and Johnson acted as if they, the majority, were under threat by the minority, whereas the DA was the minority pretending to represent the majority i.e. their plan was bound to fail.
Zille has the audacity to embrace hypocrisy as if it doesn’t matter. Only 3 months ago, on the Renegade Report podcast, Helen Zille said that liberal ideas were endangered, and that, “You can’t get away from racism by applying racism. The simplest way is to stop applying racist criteria.”
The DA’s and Zille’s affirmative action marketing failed to win it more power, instead threatens to tear it apart through faction fighting and the loss of sponsors. Essentially, the black puppet of Maimane is now the fall guy, whilst Zille returns to power as a classic liberal. The irony is enormous.
In the greater context, by being a party that shifts with the wind for self-gain, makes it a party believing in nothing.
If the DA continues like this, the Public’s disappointment in it will continue. The crisis cannot be underestimated, It seems guaranteed that the DA’s electorate will diminish, and it will shrink next election.
HARDER FOR THE DA TO PRETEND
The DA isn’t less than it was but rather a shadow of what it pretended to be.
The benefit to South African voters is that the DA can no longer pretend it’ll govern South African. It’s unlikely it will unfairly score in the way it did when it got to point fingers at ex-ANC President Jacob Zuma’s outrageous corruption.
With its reputation in tatters, and facing major problems in the Cape Metro and the Garden Route District, it makes sense for the DA to think smaller and consolidate. It’s better for it to be a muscular lightweight than a flabby heavyweight.
For all its faults, its lies and unpunished criminality, South Africa needs a strong opposition party. It would be of further benefit if the DA split into its current ideological camps – one classically liberal and uncompromising, the other social democrats willing to go into coalition. The former could focus on bringing opponents to justice whilst the latter could assist governing. And, where convenient, they could partner. It would cool a lot of the current self-imposed friction.
THE ANC DETERMINES SOUTH AFRICA’S IMMEDIATE FUTURE
In that same Renegade Reporter podcast, Zille said that, “Cyril [Ramaphosa] understands what is needed” but he’s “a captive of the ANC. He cannot break free from that cage.”
The future of South Africa has never depended on the DA. Whether the ANC (likely) destroys or (unlikely) fixes itself, its future is our future (which is seemingly out of the hands of those who oppose it).
The DA needs to look at itself rather than the ANC. It’s immediate focus must be internal, dealing with its own corruption so as to become a real anti-corruption party. It must make life better in the places where it rules, and respect locals by not ruling them from afar. Break-dancing politics must end. Good governance expands slowly. Two years of scoring goals against itself needs to end.
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