After the sudden announcement by the current leader of the official opposition in South African politics, the Democratic Alliance, Helen Zille, on Sunday that she will not be standing for re-election when the party meets for its congress in May later this year, there have been rumors and counter rumors as to who will take over the reins of, arguably, one of the hottest seats in South African politics. This has, no less, been aggravated by the suddenness of the announcement, which comes barely a month before the congress, which is scheduled for the 9th of May in Port Elizabeth.
Helen Zille announced at a press conference on Sunday that she would not be making herself available for re-election to the post of leading the party when the party holds its congress in May. She has been at the helm of the party which has won the majority of votes in the Western Cape and which is also in charge of the City of Cape Town and also the Western Cape government since 2007. When quizzed about her decision and the effect it would have on the support of the party, Zille said that she did not believe that the DA would lose its support since South Africans tended to vote for parties rather than individuals.
The immediate choice of the person to take over the reins seemed to be Lindiwe Mazibuko, who was, until last year’s elections, the parliamentary leader of the DA. She apparently had a fallout with Hellen Zille when she suddenly announced after the elections that she would not be available to be the party’s parliamentary leader as she was going to Harvard University to study for a masters in public administration. This paved the way for Mmusi Maimane to be elected to the position. However, when she was contacted for her comment about taking over the leadership of the DA, Mazibuko said that she would not be making herself available for the position as she felt that the time was not right for it. “When the time is right, I will make myself available for whichever position I believe will enable me to best make a contribution towards building a better South Africa, she said. “That time, however, is not now,” she said from her base in the United States. She added that she would be watching the events in her party from across the Atlantic with interest and added that she would remain deeply committed to her country and to the life of public service, stating further that she remained “… committed to the Democratic Alliance as the only political organisation that can lead South Africa to a prosperous future.”