DA mum on coup plans – report

2012-03-16 13:18

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has declined to comment on a report that a faction in the party wants to replace party leader Helen Zille.

National spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said the party was not able to collect relevant information, as the story was unsourced.

“At this stage, we have no comment,” he said, but noted that such reports were to be expected as it was the DA’s election season.

Beeld newspaper reported earlier in the day that a group within the DA had been quietly lobbying members to unseat Zille at the party’s national congress in November.

A new national leadership team would be elected at the congress.

The group apparently planned to nominate candidates to oppose national chairperson Wilmot James and federal executive chairperson James Selfe.

The two were believed to be close to Zille.

Should Zille be seen as vulnerable, they would also try to unseat her.

Beeld reported: “Her strong leadership style and frankness are believed to have upset some DA members.”

Some believe that the Western Cape had too much power within the party.

“A third criticism of Zille and the national core leadership is that many of the leaders do not currently occupy key posts and that many of their supporters emphasise racial, linguistic, religious, and gender preferences,” the newspaper reported.

Names being mentioned for the three top posts included former parliamentary leader Athol Trollip, former chief whip Ian Davidson, and Midrand MP Dion George.

Zille told the paper that nominations for key positions were to be expected, and choice was welcome.

Trollip and Davidson told the paper they were not available for the top posts.

George said provincial congresses would indicate whether there was a succession battle.

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