Following his resignation as party leader on Wednesday, Mmusi Maimane on Thursday announced that he was also taking leave from his position as parliamentary leader and member of the opposition party.
“I have worked tirelessly to build the project of One SA for All. It’s been my greatest honour to serve the people of SA and will continue to do so. I have today resigned from the DA and Parliament. Thank you to the people of this country for your faith in our nation. God bless SA,” said Maimane on social media platform Twitter.
I have worked tirelessly to build the project of One SA for All. It’s been my greatest honour to serve the people of SA and will continue to do so. I have today resigned from the DA and Parliament. Thank you to the people of this country for your faith in our nation. God bless SA— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) October 24, 2019
City Press has also been reliably told that during the emergency federal council held by the DA on Thursday, party spokesperson Solly Malatsi informed council members that the legal opinion that the party sought on Wednesday following the resignation of both Maimane and DA federal chairperson Athol Trollip, concluded that Maimane could not continue on as parliamentary leader following his resignation as party leader.
In a hastily called press briefing on Wednesday, Maimane said it had become clear to him that there were people within the DA who no longer wanted him as leader and that he had reached the conclusion that the DA was no longer the vehicle through which he could fulfil his vision.
He said his wish was to stay on as parliamentary leader until December but the decision on whether that would be possible could only be taken by the party’s highest decision-making body.
In a turn of events that left the party in disarray, Trollip followed in Maimane’s footsteps and announced his resignation.
Newly elected DA federal council chairperson, Helen Zille, announced that Trollip’s decision stunned the DA and left them with a constitutional conundrum and that the party would urgently be seeking legal advice.
City Press understands that John Steenhuisen will also be stepping down as chief whip of the DA in parliament since the position was appointed by Maimane who is no longer in charge. In a tweet Steenhuisen reiterated his commitment to the party by saying that while he did not resign from the DA, the Chief Whip's term was tied to that of the party leader.
Let me be clear: I have NOT resigned from the @Our_DA or Parliament. The Leader of the party appoints the Chief Whip. With Mmusi’s resignation from Parliament my term as Chief Whip ends. I remain a committed and determined member of the party and cause.— John Steenhuisen MP (@jsteenhuisen) October 24, 2019
Talks are still on going on who will lead the party going forward, and at this point Zille, who was elected federal council chairperson last weekend, appears to have full control over the party.
Last weekend’s sitting of the federal council – the highest decision-making body in between congresses – resolved to have an early congress to renew the mandate of the party ahead of the 2021 local government elections.
City Press had reported that Maimane, who was the party’s first black leader, had told those close to him that should Zille emerge victorious there was no chance that he would remain in the position.
Maimane’s resignation came hot on the heels of the resignation of his friend and political ally Herman Mashaba, who resigned as mayor of Johannesburg on Monday in protest of Zille’s election.
The DA has been hit by a wave of resignations, including that of Paul Boughey who was the party CEO. He tendered his resignation on October 18.