Maimane out: Top quotes from the DA's former leader
Mmusi Maimane’s election as the party’s first black and youngest leader was hailed, while others criticised it, arguing he was anointed by his mentor Helen Zille to succeed him.
JOHANNESBURG - Mmusi Maimane stepped down as Democratic Alliance (DA) leader less than four years after his meteoric rise to the biggest opposition’s top post. Maimane’s election as the party’s first black and youngest leader was hailed, while others criticised it, arguing he was anointed by his mentor Helen Zille to succeed him.
We take a look at some of his famous quotes during his tenure at the party:
“It is a fact that most young black South Africans continue to be denied access to opportunity, just as their parents were during apartheid. This is what we must change if we are to succeed as a nation. As democrats, we will work tirelessly to create a fairer society,” Maimane said in May 2015 after he won the race for DA leader. His push for race to define economic policy has led to the breakdown in relations with his former mentor Zille and the “pure liberals” in the party.
“Please don't take it literally because you are not an honourable man. You are a broken man presiding over a broken society,” said Maimane to then President Jacob Zuma in Parliament in February 2015. He accused Zuma of “breaking Parliament”, criticising him for laughing during a tense moment in the National Assembly when police were let into National Assembly to drag out EFF MPs.
“Presidents and their families who abuse their power for personal benefit must be treated as equal before the law and held accountable for their actions. Ramaphosa is no exception,” said Maimane in August 2019. It was Maimane’s question to President Cyril Ramaphosa on a R500,000 donation in Parliament that sparked controversy for the president that campaigned on clean governance. He also referred the matter to the Public Protector and she found that Ramaphosa had “deliberately misled” the National Assembly. Other questionable transactions have since emerged and Ramaphosa is embroiled in legal battle to set aside the Public Protector report.
“Her actions and statement was completely unacceptable and indefensible, and therefore I have asked for it to be investigated fully, to say where does the organisation goes from this point forward because she is a member of the DA,” Maimane said on March 2017. He was reacting to Zille’s tweets praising colonialism. This sparked the end of the political 'romance' between Zille and Maimane. The party sanctioned Zille, removing her from party positions.
“You are a hero to me,” Maimane describing outgoing Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba as he resigned from the party on 21 October 2019. Maimane angered some leaders of the party by standing next to Mashaba as he trashed the party, explaining he was resigning after Zille was elected Federal Council chair.
“The ANC is harming and killing South Africa. When I say this, I don’t just mean they’re harming our economy and killing our dreams. I mean they are literally harming our bodies and killing us,” Maimane said during a march in the Johannesburg CBD on 16 January 2019. Police stopped them from reaching the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House. A 2014 march to headquarters was also halted.