The public comments by Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane – in which he says that Western Cape Premier Helen Zille should have been stripped of powers when he became leader in 2015 – have landed him in the political poo.
The Sunday Times story was headlined: It was a mistake to keep Zille – Mmusi . Barely had it landed, when the social media press ran hot.
Political pundits – mainly former DA activists and at least one former parliamentarian – said it was likely that Maimane would have to exit politics after the 2019 poll.
“Being a party leader is like being a pilot, flying through turbulent wards, The last thing you need is the former pilot sitting in the jump seat trying to tell you what to do,” he told Ranjeni Munusamy of the Sunday Times.
Graham Gersbach of the Bronburg constituency in Ekurhuleni said simply: This must be fake news. No party leader would say that.
Daniel Silke, a former member of the Western Cape legislature and now a political commentator, said: “Bizarre interview all round. Does indeed portend troubles ahead.”
Paul Pereira, a former party researcher who is now with the Institute of Race Relations, said: (He) shoots the DA in the foot about once a week.”
Jon Cayzer, who was once Zille’s speechwriter, said the Sunday Times story “has left us all reeling”.
Silke said the comments by Maimane would spell trouble ahead for the party leader. “He does now run the risk of being irrevocably tainted from all sides of the DA support base (new & traditional). He’s doing a pretty good job of demotivating his support base – traditional or new for that matter.”