A leaderless DA: 'We are taking legal advice', says Helen Zille

23 October 2019 - 18:11 By TimesLive
DA federal council chair Helen Zille says the party is taking legal advice after both Mmusi Maimane and Athol Trollip resigned on October 23 2019.
DA federal council chair Helen Zille says the party is taking legal advice after both Mmusi Maimane and Athol Trollip resigned on October 23 2019.
Image: Alaister Russell

DA federal council chair Helen Zille says the party is taking legal advice on what to do next.

"This is a rather unusual situation," she told reporters on Wednesday, after both DA leader Mmusi Maimane and DA federal chair Athol Trollip quit.

She said the Democratic Alliance's constitution made provision for the leader departing - but it states that the federal chairperson should take over.

In this case, however, the federal chairperson has also resigned.

"We are taking legal advice," said Zille, adding that the party did not want to "rush into decisions".

She paid tribute to the outgoing Maimane and Trollip.

"Salute and respect... and I hope that our friendship and debates will continue," she said.

"I'm deeply moved by the commitment that both Mmusi and Athol have shown to the values that we all share."

Zille said the party would have preferred that Maimane and Trollip stick around until the DA federal congress. 

"We have a challenging road ahead. We all know the history of my support to Mmusi. At times we had our differences, but that is not unusual. It never changed my respect for him."

"I want to pay tribute to both Mmusi and Athol. Everybody knows I admire Mmusi."

She said when FedEx met over the weekend, a great deal of the meeting was spent discussing issues Maimane and Trollip raised.

She explained normally the federal chair would take over the former leader’s role but they’ve both stepped down. They will now get legal advice on how to navigate this.

"Athol and I had worked hard for democracy. Mmusi is young and still has a long career ahead of him. I hope our friendship and debates will continue.

Mmusi, Athol and myself all contributed. I know we will work for a united South Africa till the day we die."

Sources earlier told TimesLIVE the federal executive meeting, chaired by Helen Zille, had to continue longer than scheduled as the leaders were forced to persuade the party's top office bearers to reconsider.


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