DA leadership stints must be limited to a decade, advises review panel

21 October 2019 - 19:03 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
A recent DA report has recommended sweeping changes in the party, including that leader Mmusi Maimane steps down.
A recent DA report has recommended sweeping changes in the party, including that leader Mmusi Maimane steps down.
Image: Sunday Times/Alon Skuy

The DA review panel headed by Ryan Coetzee, who worked with former leader Tony Leon and businessman Michiel le Roux, has recommended that the official opposition limits leadership stints for its national and provincial leaders to a decade - and that former leaders take a five-year break before contesting for other positions.

This is contained in the panel's report following the party's fading election fortunes that saw it lose support in all nine provinces in the May 8 national polls for the first time in its history.

According to the report, the poor results among other things had been caused by a lack of "effective leadership".

Other than recommending that the federal chairperson, chief executive and leader of the party step down, the report said that going forward, leaders at national and provincial levels must serve for a maximum of a decade and take a five-year gap before vying for another position.

Should the party implement the recommendation, newly elected DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille would be the last to benefit from an unlimited process, having risen to her new job exactly fours years after ending her two-term reign as DA leader.

The panel also recommended that in the future, DA chief executives must not be contracted for anything more than five years.

The position is currently open after Paul Boughey resigned last week, as per the panel recommendation - leaving Mmusi Maimane the only leader still standing that the panel advised must go.

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Recommendations by the panel also included: 

  • holding a federal congress as soon as constitutionally possible to allow for the election of a new leader and make possible a number of other recommendations contained in the report;
  • reconstituting the national management committee to include only the leader, chairperson of the federal council, chief whip and chief executive, with select others joining for discussions relevant to their responsibilities;
  • making the national management committee participate at least once a year in a programme designed to enable effective teamwork;
  • sourcing and delivering much more effective leadership development, specific to the DA and its needs, in order to enable the party's long-term success;
  • establishing a "board of advisers" consisting of sympathetic and expert "outsiders" deeply committed to the DA project, who could act as a sounding board for the party leadership and would meet "quarterly or thereabouts ... in a convivial atmosphere, entirely off the record" to allow DA leaders to "obtain advice from a distance".