Newly elected Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Council chairperson Helen Zille is seemingly taking Herman Mashaba’s resignation in her stride.
In an interview with Power FM on Monday, Zille said Mashaba’s decision to quit the DA and as Johannesburg Mayor was “regrettable.”
She said, “Look, it’s always regrettable when someone has resigned. But we have many highly competent leaders in the DA.”
Zille added, “Well, the mayor of the City of Johannesburg can do what he feels like doing. He is absolutely free to do that. This is a free country.”
She expressed regret that Mashaba didn’t speak to her before taking the decision to resign.
‘DA has not moved to the right’
At a press conference earlier on Monday, Mashaba said his resignation will take effect on 27 November.
He cited Zille’s election as well as a Federal Council decision to “question” DA’s coalition arrangements in Johannesburg and Tshwane as the reasons.
Before the Council meeting, Mashaba had suggested that if Zille was elected, it would mark a “right-wing” takeover of DA. This is apparently because of her links to the Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
However, Zille denied that she is part of “right-wing elements.”
She said, “[Mashaba] has said that the party has taken a move to the right. That is totally not so, because we have exactly the same values and vision that we had when Herman Mashaba joined the DA.
“He knows my role in the history against the struggle against apartheid and a range of other things.”
Why Zille believes she was elected
Zille said DA delegates elected her because they “liked my message of stability, unity and growth.”
She added, “They know my track record. They know what I’ve done in the past, and they wanted me to help reunite and re-grow the party.”
She said her immediate priorities will be organising DA’s early policy and elective congresses before 2021 local government elections.