Johannesburg – Mmusi Maimane has resigned as the leader of the DA, ending a four-year reign as the leader of the official opposition party.
Maimane’s career in the DA has been closely watched as the first black man to lead the party. He quickly rose through the ranks and was elected to lead the party in May 2015. He faced competition from the Wilmot James.
He has held various positions in the party, both nationally and provincially.
Maimane has served as the DA spokesperson and he has also served as DA’s mayoral candidate for the 2011 municipal elections. He led the DA’s Joburg city council caucus until the May 2014 elections.
He set his eyes on the Gauteng premiership when he campaigned as a candidate for the DA in the 2014 elections. He did not win.
Maimane then went on to be elected as the leader of the DA in Parliament, a role he was elected to unopposed.
He has faced several challenges while leading the party. Some included the party’s decision to go into coalition partnerships with EFF and other smaller parties following the 2016 local government elections.
The DA did not win a majority in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Gauteng metros but was able to garner enough support from smaller parties to enable the formation of a government.
Another issue for Maimane was his handling of the saga around former Western Cape premier Hellen Zille.
Zille’s tweet about colonialism and its benefits caused an uproar but she was never dismissed from the party. It was the handling of the issue which saw many criticise Maimane’s leadership.
Another challenge was the DA’s performance at this year’s national elections, which saw the party lose voters.
There has also been a brewing debate with the DA on how the party handles issues around inequality and race.
Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s recent resignation has been seen as a sign of a political wave of change within the DA. Mashaba said he was resigning because his values and that of the party were not aligned.
Whether Maimane succeeded in shifting the DA or growing the party remains debated.
He said at the party’s presser “the DA is not the vehicle best suited to take forward the vision of building One South Africa for All”.