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DA focuses on replacing Maimane and Trollip

DA's Federal Council chair Helen Zille said the party sought legal advice on what to do following the resignations of Mmusi Maimane and Athol Trollip and would discuss it at a federal executive meeting on Thursday.

Mmusi Maimane announces his resignation as DA leader, with Helen Zille and Athol Trollip in the background, on 23 October 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Following the biggest political scandal to hit the Democratic Alliance (DA), the party's federal executive leaders are expected to hold an urgent meeting on Thursday to discuss where to go from here.

On Wednesday evening, Mmusi Maimane resigned as party leader - together with former Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip who served the party as its federal chairperson.

Their resignations followed that of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Monday.

In his resignation, Maimane denounced the party he led for four years, saying it was no longer a vehicle best suited to take forward the vision of building one South Africa for all.

He said he was willing to remain parliamentary leader until later this year unless the party decided otherwise.

Maimane and Trollip’s resignations have left the DA with a constitutional conundrum.

*READ: Mmusi Maimane's resignation address

The party’s new Federal Council chair Helen Zille said: “Our constitution makes provision for the fact that if a leader departs in unforeseen circumstances, the party chairperson takes over until a new leader can be elected. This is a rather unusual situation because both the leader and the chairperson have taken individual decisions at the same time.”

She said the party sought legal advice on what to do now and would discuss it at a federal executive meeting on Thursday.

“We now have a challenging road ahead.”

The federal executive will also have to decide if Maimane should remain in Parliament representing the party.

For a new leader to be elected, the DA would have to call another Federal Council as an elective congress would take time to organise.

A STANZA IN A HYMN BOOK

Despite the series of resignations, the DA’s leaders seem to be singing in unison on the state of the party and the work of its previous leadership.

It all seems like the same stanza in a hymn book: most DA leaders, including Natasha Mazzone, John Steenhuisen and Cilliers Brink, have taken to Twitter to thank Maimane and Trollip for their service to the DA and the country.

But some black leaders have also spoken out on the recent speculation about whether they are to follow.

DA Gauteng leader Makashule Gana said while it may be tempting to follow others, he still preferred to run his own race.

But someone who once wore blue with pride is now rejoicing at Maimane's downfall.

Former Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille said Maimane got a taste of his own medicine.

And as questions linger on who will take over the reins, Midvaal Mayor Bongani Baloyi has denied reports that he was approached to be interim leader.

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