Big day for DA: Federal council votes for powerful chairperson post

20 October 2019 - 10:31 By Aphiwe Deklerk
The DA on Sunday will vote for the key position of federal council chair.
The DA on Sunday will vote for the key position of federal council chair.
Image: Gallo Images

The DA on Sunday morning will vote in the hotly-contested battle for the powerful position of federal council chair.

Results are expected to be announced at midday at the council's meeting in Johannesburg.

The vote comes after a two-day meeting of the federal council, the DA’s highest decision-making body in between national congresses. The meeting is being held at the party’s head office in Bruma, Johannesburg.

Former party leader Helen Zille is up against current DA federal chairman, Athol Trollip, his deputy and former deputy chief whip, Mike Waters, and deputy chairperson of the federal council Thomas Walters.

This weekend has been billed as the fight for the soul of the DA after the presentation of an organisational review report by a panel led by former party strategist, Ryan Coetzee, and former leader Tony Leon.

The party has been debating the report since Saturday.

Among its recommendations are calls for current leader Mmusi Maimane to step down following a dismal performance in May's national and provincial election.

The Sunday Times reported that Maimane, during his opening speech on Saturday, told his detractors to leave the party if they continued to disagree with his vision.

PODCAST | The DA's darkest days: What happened & what now?

For more episodes, click here.

Subscribe: | Spotify | Apple Podcast | Pocket Casts |

Maimane’s detractors are not happy with the party’s political direction under his leadership, as they feel the DA has lost its liberalism.

In the same speech, Maimane again called for an early elective congress to help solve the party’s divisions.

He also called for the party to sit for its first ever policy conference, amid infighting over the direction the party should take.

Sunday's vote is crucial for Maimane’s survival. He is understood to support his long-time ally Trollip to take over from James Selfe, who announced in June he was stepping down this year.

But the election of Zille would make his life difficult, as the two former allies have since fallen out after the former Western Cape premier’s tweets about colonialism.