Mmusi, Herman did not fit DA bill

Mmusi Maimane
Mmusi Maimane
Image: Alaister Russell

The collapse of the Mmusi Maimane DA leadership and that of the city of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba was not written in the stars, but in themselves as Shakespeare would have put it.

Maimane was not a politician, just as he confessed during his resignation. He was also a real bangbroek as Helen Zille pointed out. He feared his detractors and critics more than he was confident of his leadership qualities and personal durability.

As a leader of a liberal democratic party, he confused its liberalism with "Mandelaism", without realising that "Mandelaism" rests only in one organisation, the ANC.

Maimane was politically clueless.

Even as Mashaba denounced the DA in his presence, Maimane still praised him as a "hero" without realising Mashaba is also denouncing his leadership.

Maimane resigned as the leader of the party without realising he has also automatically removed himself as parliamentary leader to the status of a back bencher.

Maimane complained during his resignation that some Afrikaaner papers impugned his integrity and thus endangered his family. But that is the nature of politics.

At his resignation, he did a Mashaba rehashing: the DA is not "the vehicle best suited to take forward the vision of building one SA for all". When did he realise that?

A few days before his resignation, he was showing the door to those who disagreed with his leadership without realising he was the one who should be fired for sowing confusion.

Maimane should have resigned after the party's poor election poor showing in May. A leader whose party loses more than 400,000 votes should not wait to be told to vacate the position.

Mashaba was a good mayor, but a poor politician.

Without the Economic Freedom Fighter's backing, Mashaba knew he would not have the votes to survive the ANC onslaught.

Is the DA dead? No. But neither will it prosper. A liberal party in a South Africa-type political culture can never thrive.

Themba Sono, By email

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