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Zille puts hand up to be next DA Federal Council chair

Former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille made the announcement on Friday, saying that she had submitted the nomination form after 'careful consideration and consultation'.

FILE: Helen Zille on the election campaign trail for the DA ahead of the 2019 general elections. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Former Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille has put her name forward to be the party's next federal executive council (FedEx) chairperson.

Zille made the announcement on Friday, saying that she had submitted the nomination form after 'careful consideration and consultation'.

She said that she been approached to do so by several senior leaders earlier this week.

The election, to be held in October, will be to replace James Selfe, who is standing down from the position after more than two decades of service.

In a Facebook post, Zille said that in recent months, the DA had been through a period of turmoil and distress.

"As a party, it is important for us to reflect, to introspect and to begin the process of reconnecting with voters. If elected as Chairperson of the Federal Council, my objective will be to support the leadership in its goal of stabilising the party and getting it back on track.

"I love the DA, and the values it represents – freedom, fairness, opportunity and diversity. South Africa cannot succeed unless the DA succeeds. I am prepared to work hard and to play my part in saving our democracy," Zille said.

Earlier this week, the DA disputed claims by its deputy FedEx chairperson Mike Waters that leader Mmusi Maimame failed to declare a Steinhoff car donation.

The controversy has laid bare divisions within the party. Waters told Eyewitness News on Sunday that Maimane's donation of a white Toyota Fortuner by Steinhoff's former CEO Markus Jooste was never brought before its executive or national management committees.

Meanwhile, its FedEx chairperson James Selfe told Rapport that the party's senior management was aware of the car.

Zille's DA tenure

Zille was the premier of the Western Cape province for 10 years and was replaced by Alan Winde in 2019 after her tenure came to an end. She had also previously served as leader of the DA and as the mayor of Cape Town.

Her tenure as premier was not without controversy, as the party charged her for bringing the party into disrepute after she tweeted that not all aspects of colonialism were negative. At the time, she also agreed to step down from all of the party's decision-making structures but still remain in the position of premier.

In 2019, she joined the South African Institute of Race Relations as a senior policy fellow. She started her podcast, Tea with Helen in August 2019.