Report calling for me to step down is not the Bible - DA leader Maimane

Mmusi Maimane says it would be unconstitutional for the federal council sitting this weekend to use the organisational review report to ask him to step down as party leader as per its recommendations.
Mmusi Maimane says it would be unconstitutional for the federal council sitting this weekend to use the organisational review report to ask him to step down as party leader as per its recommendations.
Image: ALON SKUY

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, whose future hangs in the balance as party leaders meet this weekend, says the controversial review report that calls for him to step down is not the Bible.

Maimane says it would be unconstitutional for the federal council sitting this weekend to use the organisational review report to ask him to step down as party leader as per its recommendations.

“There are a lot of recommendations that sit there and I think that some are good but this is a report that’s not the bible We must look at it, take what we need to take out of it and modify what we need to modify because we are the ones who are the custodians of the organisation,” said Maimane.

Maimane was speaking on the report by a panel headed by former DA strategist and ex-CEO Ryan Coetzee that included former DA leader Tony Leon and Capitec founder Michiel le Roux that was commissioned following the DA’s bad performance at the polls early this year.

The report is said to recommend that Maimane and party CEO Paul Boughey step down and calls for the party to have an early elective congress where a new leader would be installed.

Boughey tendered his resignation yesterday.

Maimane played down the growing pressure on him to also resign saying that it was incorrect to suggest that Boughey resigned because of the report.

A calm Maimane dressed in a blue suit, white shirt, black shoes and socks bearing the colours of the South African flag was speaking to SowetanLIVE at the DA’s headquarters in Bruma, east of Johannesburg, where about 155 delegates will meet this weekend.

He did not want to get into why the report had suggested he steps down as that would be discussed over the weekend.

"We must all focus on 2021 because we can sit and lament 2019 until we’re blue in the face, it’s done, there’s nothing we can do about it. Now what we gotta do is learn the lessons and focus on 2021,” said Maimane.

According to Maimane, the DA’s constitution does not have a recall clause and leaders can only be removed at congress which is held every three years.

He said the DA will however adopt the report's recommendation that the party holds an early elective congress where he believes he has enough support to ensure he gets re-elected.

“My reading is that there is broad support in the organisation. The organisation knows that the objectives we set ourselves are the objectives we’re leading towards. 

“So to the question as to whether they would elect or not elect, that’s the decision they will have to make when they go to congress when the congress is called. I’m comfortable enough to know I have a vision to pursue and a cause to fight for,” said Maimane.

His confidence has seemingly been boosted by some provincial leaders who have declared that they would be voting for his ally, Athol Trollip, for the position of the federal council chairperson this weekend where he is up against former DA leader Helen Zille, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters.

Although Maimane did not reveal who he would be voting for, he said that he disagreed with the ideals of some of the candidates for the position, especially on the issue of non-racialism.

“I must go to council and I must vote for the candidate who will best serve the vision and will certainly not take the DA backwards. I’m a voting as a delegate like any other so they’ve sent me material but always remember, the job of leadership is also to make sure that the cause doesn’t become compromised along the way,” said Maimane.

“I disagree fundamentally with certain views that have been expressed and I think more than anything, as a voting delegate and as a leader of the DA, I have an objective to achieve and I’ll go for it.”​ 

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