DA scrambling to have new parliamentary leader in place after Maimane exit

DA parliamentary caucus chairperson Annelie Lotriet is now in charge until a new parliamentary leader is elected.

FILE: Former Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane at the Sona Debate on 25 June 2019. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Parliament is scrambling to have a new parliamentary leader in place as soon as Tuesday.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane’s resignation on Thursday as an MP and from the DA also means that John Steenhuisen ceases to be chief whip, as Maimane appointed him.

DA parliamentary caucus chairperson Annelie Lotriet is now in charge until a new parliamentary leader is elected. Steenhuisen says he’s been approached to stand but also says he’s prepared to return as chief whip if the new parliamentary leader wants him.

Annelie Lotriet described the mood inside the DA’s caucus meeting today as subdued.

"A lot has to do with uncertainty – exactly what the process is going forward now, what the parliamentary process is, who takes over, what happens..."

The party wants a new parliamentary leader in place as soon as possible.

"In terms of our rules, if the federal leader is not a Member of Parliament then [the DA in] Parliament must elect from its own ranks a parliamentary leader, which is now the situation."

Lotriet says caucus agreed that she ask the party’s federal executive for permission for a new parliamentary leader to be elected on Tuesday instead of at the DA’s next caucus meeting on Thursday.

"So at this point in our caucus, I think everyone has clarity today, exactly what is going on, where we stand… we are now going to stabilize this ship and we will move forward."

The first job will be trying to unite a divided caucus that’s been rocked by the seismic developments in the party over recent days.

WATCH: Mmusi Maimane resigns as DA leader