Former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has hit back at current interim leader John Steenhuisen’s criticism that he focused too much on bashing the African National Congress (ANC).
Speaking to EWN in Durban on Friday, Steenhuisen said he would be more solutions-oriented if he was elected DA leader on a permanent basis in May.
“The days of just pointing the finger at the ANC and saying how bad they are, without putting workable solutions on the table, are over,” he said.
However, in a series of tweets on Saturday, a seemingly angry Maimane said Steenhuisen, whom he called “Judas,” had been “in full agreement” with his approach.
He wrote, “The previous administration was dismal. All opposition parties were critical of the ANC under Zuma.
“A key element of being leader of the opposition is to show the deficiencies in the ruling party. Judas Steenhusien was in full agreement with our approach.”
Maimane urged Steenhuisen to focus on his work, adding an implicit threat that things “won’t end well” for him.
‘Keep my name out of your mouth’
The ex-DA leader said, “Someone should tell Judas Steenhuisen to keep my name out of his mouth. It won’t end well for him. Just focus on your work and I will focus on my work. He must ask Cachalia.”
Maimane was referring to DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia, with whom he had another testy Twitter exchange last week.
In an article on Business Day, Ghaleb had criticised Maimane’s plans to start a “movement,” arguing that such movements aren’t started in “private dining rooms.”
Maimane took to Twitter to dismiss Cachalia’s criticism, saying he won’t be slowed down by “professional detractors.”
‘You know nothing about movements’
He added, “You know nothing about movements or politics Ghaleb, you just had VIP seats to the game your whole life.
“We are working, we are taking risks and creating a different approach to unresolved problems. Enjoy your VIP seats. Watch us work.”
Steenhuisen had not responded to Maimane’s tweets at the time of publishing. The two were reportedly allies, but chose different paths after the election of Helen Zille as DA Federal Council chairperson.
He took over as DA leader on an interim basis when Maimane resigned soon after Zille’s return late last year.
Steenhuisen now in the race to succeed Maimane at the party’s elective congress slated for May.
DA leader in the Western Cape Bonginkosi Madikizela is also gunning for the post. The winner will lead the party to the 2021 local government elections.