Zille to make final speech today

Outgoing Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille is expected to speak after a special tribute is made to her.

FILE: Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille addressing the crowds at the Cape Town Stadium during the Nelson Mandela memorial on 11 December 2013. Picture: Stephen Phillipson/EWN.

PORT ELIZABETH - Outgoing leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) Helen Zille says she will make her final speech at the party's federal congress in Port Elizabeth this morning.

Last month, Zille announced she is stepping down as the party's leader.

She made the announcement at a press briefing at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

Zille's expected to speak after a special tribute is made to her.

It's to be screened to more than 1400 delegates attending the congress in the congress.

The outgoing leader is bracing herself for what will be an emotional moment.

"Yes, it is a very poignant moment for me and I've put a lot into the last eight years as leader of the DA. Of course, stepping down one has mixed emotions. I know the time is right."

For Zille the over-riding concern was how to secure the party's future growth, not just as an opposition party but one in government.

"I think it is going to be a game-changer in the South African context, absolutely yes."

Zille's endorsing neither Mmusi Maimane nor his rival Wilmot James as her successor. But she says skin colour isn't the only criterion here, the new leader must also be a visionary who is able to inspire people.

The outgoing DA leader announced that she will remain premier of the Western Cape until her term ends in 2019.

WATCH: Ramphele, trolls, and soft landings: Zille reminisces.