Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has criticised a newspaper headline that characterised an internal party grouping as “Black DA.”
Maimane tweeted a front page photo of the Sowetan on Friday which carried the headline, “Black DA pushes back against Zille.”
He described “these kind of headlines” as “problematic and unacceptable.”
The DA leader added, “The DA is a non-racial organisation committed to building One South Africa for All. We may be having an internal contestation but we do not mobilise along racial lines.”
Federal Council chairperson contest
Maimane’s comment comes as the campaign for the Federal Council chairperson position gains momentum ahead of the election on 20 October.
Former DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is pitted against former Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip and senior leaders Mike Waters and Thomas Walters.
Maimane is widely believed to favour Trollip, although he hasn’t publicly endorsed a particular candidate.
He reportedly has an uneasy working relationship with Zille, who, until her announcement of her candidature, was a senior policy fellow at the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
In an interview with Power FM on Thursday, Maimane said “it would be good for the DA to have a federal [council] chairperson who is black.”
Call for Maimane to resign
A senior analyst at IRR, Hermann Pretorius, recently penned an article calling on Maimane to resign and for current Western Cape Premier Alan Winde to succeed him.
Mail & Guardian also reports that a DA post-election review panel recommends that Maimane steps down as party leader.
Maimane and his supporters, such as Herman Mashaba, Phumzile van Damme and John Steenhuisen, believe these calls are the work of a “right wing” group in the DA.
He told Power FM that IRR’s #SaveTheOpposition campaign, which solely focuses on the DA, is “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.