Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has lambasted the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) for meddling in DA’s affairs.
In an interview with Power FM on Thursday, Maimane took issue with the recent call by IRR analyst Hermann Pretorius for him to resign as DA leader.
He said the call was like “some sort of domestic worker relationship where they can tell me when to come and when to go. It’s an attitude in South Africa we must all stand up against.”
Maimane also suggested the IRR is a right-wing movement, saying, “I don’t subscribe to right-wing movements.”
He said while IRR has a right to offer ideas as a think thank, its recently launched #SaveTheOpposition campaign was “patronising.”
“If the IRR must involve itself in internal party policy, it’s an overstepping of its job. It’s supposed to provide ideas and ideals,” he said.
When asked about his working relationship with ex-DA leader Helen Zille, Maimane admitted that they had “disagreed fundamentally” on certain issues, especially her tweets on colonialism.
However, he insisted that he continues to accord her the “professional courtesy she deserves” and that she has a right to run for the Federal Council chairperson position.
Zille appeared to direct a subtle jibe at Maimane’s leadership in a recent interview. She said, “The DA is becoming less and less united, and we were once a reasonably strongly united organisation… that appears to have dissipated; it appears to no longer be the case.”
Zille’s links with IRR
Maimane refused to be drawn to Zille’s perceived links with IRR, saying he’s “not qualified to comment” on that.
Zille joined IRR as a senior policy fellow soon after retiring as Western Cape Premier in May. However, she suspended this fellowship upon announcing her candidature for Federal Council chairperson recently.
She defended Hermann Pretorius’ right to write the article that called on Maimane to resign and for current Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to succeed him.
Several DA leaders, including Herman Mashaba, Phumzile van Damme and John Steenhuisen, strongly criticised the article and IRR.