Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane is set to hold a press briefing on Wednesday at 15h00 in Johannesburg.
This is according to a short statement issued to the media by his office. It comes on the back of intense speculation that he could resign as party leader.
DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi on Tuesday dismissed the speculation. Speaking to The Citizen, he said, “Rumours are just that – rumours.”
However, anonymous sources quoted by Business Day and News24 said Maimane could follow in outgoing Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba’s footsteps “imminently.”
Among the sources are DA provincial leaders, who nevertheless did not wish to be named.
‘He’s my hero’
On Monday, Mashaba announced that he will resign from DA and as Mayor on 27 November following Helen Zille’s election as DA Federal Council chairperson over the weekend.
He criticised some DA leaders for viewing race as “irrelevant” in addressing South Africa’s current economic challenges.
He also took issue with the party questioning his working relationship with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Johannesburg, especially on the policy of insourcing workers.
Maimane, who accompanied Mashaba during his resignation speech, surprised observers by calling him “my hero” despite the stinging public criticism of the DA.
This has fuelled speculation about his alleged impending resignation.
A provincial leader also told News24 that the party’s Federal Executive, which is meeting on Wednesday, could take Maimane to task over the comment.
Panel review report
To add to the pressure on Maimane, a leaked DA post-election review panel has recommended that he should step down as DA leader.
The panel, which was chaired by ex-DA leader Tony Leon, said Maimane is indecisive, inconsistent and averse to conflict.
This has contributed to infighting as well as confusion over the DA’s political philosophy on certain issues, it found.
However, at a press briefing on Sunday, the DA said Maimane will stay on as party leader until an early congress is convened.
Asked if he would avail himself for another term, Maimane said he will await the outcome of DA’s policy conference before making a decision.
All this could change at Maimane’s press briefing in case he announces his resignation, which is likely to rock the DA.
NOTE: This story was updated after the press briefing was moved from 13h00 to 15h00.