The Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Federal Executive (FedEx) reportedly wants first sight of a review panel’s findings on the state of the party before the document is tabled at a federal council meeting next week.
Some insiders believe the move could assist embattled leader Mmusi Maimane in dealing with those seeking to use report against him, News24 reports.
“He can look at it, study its strengths and weaknesses. Mmusi would be able to make a strong case on the way forward and to defend himself against some of the damning findings likely to be levelled against him,” a senior leader told the online news platform.
Maimane has been facing mounting pressure since the party’s lacklustre performance in May’s national and provincial elections.
The DA chief has also been blasted over his use of a car sponsored by disgraced former Steinhoff boss Markus Jooste, and over why he declared a R4m Claremont, Cape Town home in Parliament’s assets registry, despite not owning the property.
An internal DA probe has since cleared him of any wrongdoing. “ I am satisfied that there exists no financial illegality on behalf of Mr Maimane as it pertains to both the house and the car,” said DA Federal Finance Chairperson Dion George.
Also on Inside Politics: DA Clears Leader Maimane Over Cape Home And Sponsored Car
Maimane’s supporters have also raised concerns over the actions of former party leader Tony Leon, who is a member of the review panel.
The Sunday Times reported this past weekend that Leon, former DA chief strategist Ryan Coetzee, who led the review panel, and Capitec Bank co-founder Michiel le Roux were part of a delegation which met with Maimane, asking him to resign.
It’s understood that several national and provincial leaders criticised the move.
They reportedly questioned Leon and Coetzee’s authority to make such a request, as well as their objectivity in assessing the state of the party and Maimane’s leadership.
“Who the hell is Tony? Who gave him that mandate,” one provincial leader reportedly said.
Leon, in response, told the online news platform,“Our mandate is to present before federal council. If we have to do things in between, this will also be done,” adding, “Ours is to deliver a report that is as comprehensive as possible on the challenges facing the party.”
DA national spokesperson Solly Malatsi confirmed a request had been made for FedEx to see the report first.
“The federal leader has requested that the report be tabled to FedEx, which is meeting this Friday ahead of federal council, which will still have its rightful opportunity to engage it in detail when it meets in two weeks,” said Malatsi.
Meanwhile, another prominent DA leader, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, has said he was watching developments carefully.
He has threatened to leave the organisation if “right-wing” influences took over the party.
“If it is to be taken over by the right-wing, some of us won’t feel at home,” he said. “I am watching this space closely, looking to see who stands for what among those contesting.”
Mashaba was referring to the race for the position of federal council chairperson, which is likely to come down to a clash between former party leader Helen Zille and federal chairperson Athol Trollip.
Thomas Walters and Michael Waters have also been nominated to replace James Selfe as the federal council chair.
In a surprising move, Zille shocked announced her intention to run for the position of federal council chair.
Commentators believe Maimane’s backers will throw their weight behind his ally Trollip, while those seen to represent the so-called ‘liberal bloc’ are expected to vote in favour of Zille.
“It wouldn’t be fair to cast doubts on any one of them. If ever it’s taken over by people I don’t feel comfortable with, without any doubt I would go,” said Mashaba.
On Leon’s ‘request’ for Maimane to quit, Mashaba was emphatic.
“He was put there by members. I don’t know where in the constitution was Tony given powers to make such a call. Tony has no powers to decide on the leadership of the party.”
Johannesburg’s mayor further suspected that Maimane was being targeted because of his stance on President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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