James Selfe steps down as DA Federal Executive chair

DA federal executive chair James Selfe has stepped down from his position to head up its  governance unit, party leader Mmusi Maimane announced on Sunday. 

Maimane, along with Selfe and federal chair Athol Trollip, held a media briefing to outline the outcomes of the first federal council meeting after the general elections. 

Maimane said Selfe, who held the position of for 19 years, has been tasked with supporting DA governments to ensure that they deliver better to citizens. 

"This unit will require strong leadership to ensure that we accelerate delivery towards the next elections. James has both the skill, experience and institutional knowledge to spearhead this new unit, and I welcome this decision."

The decision to redeploy Selfe comes after the party, under Maimane, took a beating during the elections with a decline to 20.8% of votes, while the EFF gained 10.8% of the vote.

The DA's share of national results dipped from 22.23% of the vote attained when Helen Zille led the party during the previous national elections. 

Maimane said during the federal council meeting, he took responsibility for the decline.

To mitigate these losses going into the 2021 elections, the party will also initiate a review of its system structures and policies.

"The panel will conduct a review of the party’s fitness to achieve its objective of building a constitutional liberal democratic alternative to the ANC. The review will investigate the underlying drivers of the party’s performance in the 2019 general election and will encompass the capacity of the party’s leadership and public representatives, its political identity, policy platform, strategy, structure, processes and operations, as well as any other considerations that may be relevant to achieving the party’s objectives," Maimane told journalists. 

The independent organisational review panel will be headed by Ryan Coetzee, with a final report of its review presented in full to the next meeting of the Federal Executive.

"The panel will seek input from all members and structures of the party as well as external stakeholders with an interest in the success of the party.

"Those wishing to provide input will be asked to do so in writing. The panel will then also meet with a range of people and structures to discuss their input, including but not necessarily limited to the leader, chairperson, chair of the Federal Council, chief executive, provincial leadership and the leadership of key local governments."

Maimane said he was confident this review will result in an honest and frank introspection of where the DA is and where the DA needs to go.

"We will come out stronger and more resilient than ever before."

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