I’m going nowhere, says confident, calm, unfazed Mmusi Maimane
Confident, calm and seemingly unfazed by the calls for him to step down, embattled DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Monday said he would not resign as he had been elected by delegates at an elective congress — and not by individuals.
In arguably his toughest week at the helm of the official opposition, Maimane seemed focused when he embarked on an oversight visit in Komani.
There have been growing calls for him to resign following the party’s poor showing at the general and provincial elections, with former leader Tony Leon reportedly one of the party leaders who have asked Maimane to step down.
Maimane told DispatchLIVE that no particular individual selected a leader or deselected a leader in the DA.
“It is the congress that elects leadership. It is the congress of the people of the DA who are committed to the vision of SA for all, who elect leaders.
The party that promises 'One South Africa for All' has been accused of all talk and no action. The DA has found itself in multiple sticky situations, garnering criticism from all sides. Herman Mashaba, Mmusi Maimane and Solly Msimanga are some of the DA leaders who have found themselves in hot water. From illegal tender claims to an alleged Steinhoff-sponsored SUV. Many have questioned the DA's leadership and DA-led municipalities as they shift from one controversy to another.
“There I sit in the organisation where delegates and citizens, who are committed to that vision, are working towards it,” he said.
DA members braved rainy weather to go with Maimane on his visit to Louis Rex Primary School in New Rest township and Joe Slovo informal settlement.
Pressed by journalists, he said the upcoming DA council meeting was not an elective congress.
“We are going to be electing the executive chair of federal council, a leader who is going to work for that vision of delivering a SA for all, which must ensure that the DA continues to be diverse and entrenched in communities such as these ones,” said Maimane.
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He said no single individual, whatever their view, was able to take a stance to remove him.
“I stand strong in implementing the resolution of the congress. It was that congress that gave us a mandate and we are going forward,” he said.
Responding to a question on whether Helen Zille contesting for the post of federal chairperson was an attempt by some in the party to improve declining membership and poor performance at the polls, he replied that there were four candidates for the position, including Zille and federal chair Athol Trollip.
“As the DA, we are giving people chances to stand. But my focus is not on who contests. It is on building the organisation. No one is going to be special. Our vision is to build the organisation. You will see in this congress the DA is going to come out of it with one view,” he said.
He said the DA would discuss the issues raised by the people of Joe Slovo and the principal of Louis Rex in both provincial and national parliaments.
Maimane also met Twizza owner Ken Clark, who raised water and service delivery issues facing the municipality.
Joe Slovo resident Boniswa Nelani came to Maimane’s defence, calling on those who wanted him removed to let him finish his term.
“We are happy with the work he has done and we hope they will allow him to finish his term,” she said.
She said they would remove him when they felt that he was not doing his job.
“Maimane deserves more.”