Maimane's big Zille regret: It was a mistake to keep her

03 June 2018 - 00:40 By RANJENI MUNUSAMY
DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
Image: ROGAN WARD

Helen Zille should have been removed from decision-making structures after she stepped down as party leader, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has said.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Maimane has for the first time spoken openly about the difficulties in his relationship with Zille, saying it was “untenable to keep your former leader and your current leader same in the same structures”.

He said Zille would not return to any DA government position when her term as premier ends next year.

“Being a party leader is like being a pilot, flying through turbulent waters. The last thing you need is the former pilot sitting in in the jumper seat trying to tell you what to do,” he said.

Zille told the Sunday Times that she knew how Maimane felt as she too had to continue serving in DA structures with former leader Tony Leon after he stepped down. However, she said she and Maimane played “very different roles in the party”.

Maimane also came out fighting against critics of his leadership, swatting away claims that a powerful white lobby was in charge of the DA. He said he would pursue his transformation agenda, admitting there was a fight back from within the DA.

“I feel that as the organisation is changing, people who have historically held power think they must rise up. At some level, I welcome them challenging it because it tells you that change is actually taking place,” said Maimane

“I think we give people by virtue of the colour of their skins too much power… Maybe it comes from our own history. If there is a white person in the room, we think that’s the person in charge,” he said.

Maimane also admitted that the DA had dragged out the De Lille matter for too long, creating the impression that they were “scrambling around” to get rid of her.

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