DA leadership race takes a turn for the ugly

Wilmot James claims Mmusi Maimane appears to have lost his nerve and has turned nasty.

FILE: Wilmot James and Mmusi Maimane.  Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership race has taken an ugly turn with just under 72 hours before the party chooses Helen Zille's successor.

Outgoing chairperson Wilmot James said his challenger for the top post, Mmusi Maimane, appears to have lost his nerve and has turned nasty.

This after Maimane's campaign manager said James was guilty of "extraordinary flip-floppery".

James claims Maimane appears rattled after being out-witted during a live television debate earlier this week.

Maimane's campaign manager released an online piece yesterday attacking James for changing his position on the National Development Plan (NDP).

James hit back saying the article was "top cover" for Maimane's very own flip-flop on his support for a referendum on the death penalty.

The leadership race was triggered by Zille's shock announcement last month that she would not be available for election at the party's Federal Congress.

With less than 72 hours before delegates vote for a new leader, this has turned into a bruising battle to fill Zille's shoes.