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IRR: It's flattering to be seen as kingmakers in DA crisis

Party leader Mmusi Maimane and federal chairperson Athol Trollip called it quits on Wednesday.

Mmusi Maimane after announcing his resignation as DA leader on 23 October 2019. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute of Race Relations - which has been accused of interfering in the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s affairs - said it was flattering that people were positioning it as kingmakers in the party’s leadership crisis.

In a matter of three days this week, the official opposition was rocked by three high-profile resignations.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane and federal chairperson Athol Trollip called it quits on Wednesday.

On Monday, Jobrug Mayor Herman Mashaba also resigned; he had complained of what he called right-wing elements in the DA.

Until recently, former party leader Helen Zille - who was appointed DA’s Federal Council chair on Sunday - worked for the IRR.

The institution's Gabriel Crouse said: “It’s sort of flattering in a way for the IRR to be positioned as kingmakers in this great tragedy in the divisiveness of the leading opposition party. I think it’s also important to wonder why it’s so easy for us to be handed an oversight role.”

WATCH: Mmusi Maimane resigns as DA leader

Meanwhile, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said he was not surprised by Maimane's resignation.

“We have seen how the DA embarked on a campaign to discredit him and we’ve seen how the owners of the DA sent a signal to say we’re coming back, so the tenants have to leave.”

There’s also been mixed reaction from ordinary citizens on Maimane’s reaction.

Some members of the public described Maimane's departure as a loss for the official opposition.

“I believe he was a great person for the DA and I’m disappointed,” said one woman.

A man added: “The chicken is coming home to roost as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know what they were doing there in the first place.”

Another said: “The resignations exposed the DA for what it really is.”

Others have speculated that the internal conflict, poor performance in this year’s elections and the resignation of prominent leaders have damaged the image of the party.

“I’m not sure if it’s going to make a difference to the political landscape whether he’s there or not because there’s been dwindling support for the DA even under his leadership,” one man remarked.

Another said: “I guess for me what’s interesting is the trend of black leaders leaving the DA.”