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The return of Zille & a string of resignations: It's been a helluva week for the DA

25 October 2019 - 06:50 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Helen Zille says the DA will seek legal action on how to proceed.
Helen Zille says the DA will seek legal action on how to proceed.
Image: Gallo Images

It has been a tumultuous week for the DA, with many labelling the events of the past few days “the fallout of the opposition”.


Here's a timeline of events that have dominated news headlines:

The return of Zille

Former DA leader and Western Cape premier Helen Zille returned to the party on Sunday. Zille was elected federal executive council chairperson, a position contested by MPs Athol Trollip, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters.

“My job will be to ensure that everything runs smoothly. I will not be the leader. I will play the background role and I will stay in my lane.”

Herman Mashaba's exit 

On Monday, Herman Mashaba resigned as Johannesburg mayor and a member of the DA. 

“The election of Helen Zille as federal council chairperson represents a victory for people in the DA who stand opposed to my beliefs and value system. I cannot reconcile myself with a group of people who believe that race is irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in SA in 2019.”

DA meets to find Mashaba replacement 

Solly Malatsi, national spokesperson for the DA, said that the party would hold an urgent meeting to maintain its “political stability.” He said Mashaba's resignation did not mean the end of the party's commitment to Johannesburg residents.

“The South African democratic project is not an easy one to advance, which means building a capable state, fighting for non-racialism, pushing for economic redress and inclusion through sustainable programmes, respect for the rule of law. We will not falter in our mission to bring real change to SA.”

Maimane and Trollip quit 

On Wednesday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane and federal council chair Athol Trollip resigned Maimane said while there had been many highlights in his career, Zille's comments on colonialism did not help convince voters of the party's commitment to racial inclusivity and a DA for all. 

He said his leadership had been undermined by forces within the party who launched a smear campaign to discredit him and his integrity. “However, the past few months, it's become more and more clear ... there are a few in the DA who do not see eye to eye with me.”

DA insiders told TimesLIVE that Trollip resigned in solidarity with Maimane.

DA to seek legal action 

Addressing the media after the resignations, Zille said the party would seek legal advice on how to best proceed. She thanked Maimane and Trollip for their  commitment to the DA. “I'm deeply moved by the commitment that both Mmusi and Athol have shown to the values that we all share.”

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