Recent reports have quoted people within the DA who claiming that the party’s “liberal faction” plans to remove Maimane should the party not grow beyond 22% in the upcoming elections.
Maimane’s chief of staff Graham Charterssaid said on Tuesday that “there is no truth to such assertions”.
“Mr Maimane was elected in 2015 with almost 90% of the federal congress vote, and was re-elected in 2018 unopposed as federal leader. Under Mr Maimane’s leadership, the party has grown, won new governments and now governs for almost 16 million South Africans,” said Charters.
“Such allegations are an attempt to take focus away from the DA’s message of One South Africa For All,” he added.
In an interview, Simon Nkosi, former DA Emfuleni chief whip, said Maimane’s detractors wanted him out in the party’s next national congress.
“There’s a group of people [who} are campaigning, going around, saying on the next national congress, Mmusi needs to go out. I know of it. We’ve been contacted so many times,” said Nkosi.
The plan was hatched, even before Maimane’s re-election last year, but was put on hold until the elections in May, according to the report.
“They realised that we are near the elections, and the most important elections, and we cannot take that move yet because we have not tested Mmusi Maimane nationally,” Nkosi said.
‘I’ll follow Mmusi for as long as he is our leader’
It was reported on Sunday that the recent resignation of DA policy head Gwen Ngwenya had encouraged a lobby within the party to push for Maimane to leave his position after the elections.
In an explosive four-page resignation letter addressed to Maimane, Ngwenya accused the party of “hanging her out to dry and making it impossible for her to do her work”.
However, insiders say that her resignation, and the leaking of that resignation letter, was a powerplay by a group of so-called true liberals in the party who are at odds with Maimane.
The paper reported it understood that the group was discussing the removal of Maimane after this year’s elections, should the party fail to grow beyond 22%.
At the heart of Ngwenya’s resignation is the party’s position on BEE, which she and the so-called liberals she is aligned with believe should be scrapped in favour of a nonracial policy, according to the City Press report.
John Moodey, DA Gauteng chairperson, denied that there was a plan to oust Maimane.
“As far as I’m concerned, being part of the Democratic Alliance, there’s nothing to it,” he said.
Moodey said they still had faith in Maimane.
“Of course, there is. I’ll follow Mmusi for as long as he is our leader. I believe in him and I believe he has what it takes to be the next president of South Africa,” said Moodey.