The DA has publicly quelled any notion that party leader Mmusi Maimane was in its crosshairs after a disappointing showing at the polls.
Maimane is to remain leader of the party until its federal congress in 2021, the party leadership announced on Monday.
“We would like to state that Mr Maimane remains our leader until Federal Congress, scheduled for 2021,” said DA Federal Deputy Chairperson, Athol Trollip during a press briefing at the DA headquarters in Bruma, Johannesburg.
Maimane was not present at the briefing.
“Any talk of a change of leadership before a Federal Congress must be dispelled,” said Trollip.
This comes after a Federal Executive meeting post-elections as well as much speculation around Maimane’s future after the DA lost support nationally and in some provinces in the May 8 elections.
The DA’s national support declined, with 470 396 fewer people voting for the party in this year’s elections than in 2009.
However, the drop in votes wasn’t significant enough to shift it from its position as the official opposition in the National Assembly.
The party’s major victory in the 2019 elections was retaining the Western Cape, with the other being the overseas vote.
According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) website, 14 802 South Africans who cast their ballots abroad voted for the DA, News 24 earlier reported. The total number of votes cast overseas was 19 882.
“We will never celebrate the loss of voters. We are not blind to support in some areas nor are we deaf to the voices of those who chose to support another party in this election.
“Where the losses occurred, we will work on regaining the trust of the people as we head into the 2021 local government elections,” Trollip said.
The leadership of the official opposition in the country further clarified that it is ‘unambiguous in its support for Maimane’.
“As the leadership of the party, at both a national and provincial level, we are unambiguous in our support for Mr Maimane who has led the DA with exemption since the 2015 Nelson Mandela Bay Federal Congress, and his unopposed election in 2018,” he added.
The short briefing, which was limited to only three questions from the media, was attended by DA FedEx chairperson James Selfe, Trollip, as well as deputy federal chair Refiloe Nt’sekhe, who were flanked by the party’s provincial leaders.
When probed on Maimane’s whereabouts, Selfe told News24 that the DA leader was “rushing to the airport to catch a flight and could not be present”.
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