Johannesburg – While the DA prepares to elect its interim leader this weekend, its former head Mmusi Maimane has firmly maintained that he’s not retiring from politics any time soon and is working on forming a new political party.
Maimane said through his new party, he would drive the redress racial imbalances agenda, which he said was rejected in his former political home.
He left the DA unceremoniously last month after a fallout with members of the federal council over differences on redressing challenges facing black people.
In an interview with eNCA, Maimane said after thinking “harder” about the country’s future, he realised that a new party that would be “led by people for the people”.
“I think certainly my contribution to society is to be able to get back to that discussion,” he said
He added that he would be negotiating with civil societies and non-governmental organisations.
“Actually we need a new coalition, a new vehicle and something that would come back to the people.”
He further said that he had spent sometimes engaging different “actors and different players in society”.
“At the right time those individuals will need to articulate for themselves. My duty is to say the system as it (is) now does not work. How do we change it for the future?” he asked.
Maimane said at the right time, he would communicate more about the new party. “More citizens must have a dialogue and, for starters, I think we must have a conversation in South Africa.
“The first question we should ask ourselves as citizens is does our current formulation work?” He said that he would remain part of the country’s politics because “I love this country, I love the vision that I have articulated of the non-racial South Africa”.
As Maimane made his revelations, the DA’s federal council was preparing to meet at the weekend to vote for an interim leader to replace him. In the race will be DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen, who is considered the frontrunner, and the party’s Gauteng MPL, Makashule Gana.
Attempts to contact Maimane were unsuccessful at the time of publication. He told eNCA that he resigned from the DA because differences between him and certain leaders made it difficult for him to continue leading the party. He and outgoing Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba resigned hours apart soon after Helen Zille was elected as federal council chairperson, a position considered to be crucial in driving the party.
Maimane said his leadership was frustrated by external and internal forces. “It’s those particular individuals that over a period of time made leading the organisation harder by ensuring that (attempts) we take to reconcile South Africa are made difficult and some of those became very personal. Therefore it became untenable to continue in that project,” he said. Political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni said Maimane’s new party could make it to Parliament as only 40 000 votes were required.
“The question is whether it can expand and have an impact. That then becomes a higher order. “He surely has a national profile, therefore, he would be able to do just that,” said Fikeni.
He said he thought Maimane would use racial redress as his brand “without following the EFF and ANC approach”. “By denouncing DA in terms of its approach, which seems to deny the race factor, he may try to have a niche in a space between the ANC and EFF.