Johannesburg – Several DA leaders on Sunday threw their weight behind under-fire party leader Mmusi Maimane, demanding that he complete his term and that he not be solely blamed for dwindling electoral support.
Ahead of Monday’s federal executive meeting in Joburg, Maimane is under siege from senior DA figures unhappy with its performance in last week’s national and provincial elections, where the official opposition’s support fell from 22.23% in 2014 to 20.77%.
The party also shed almost 500 000 voters, dropping from nearly 4.1 million in 2014 to just above 3.6 million this time.
Six of the nine DA provincial leaders backed Maimane, saying the party took collective ownership of its successes in the 2016 local government elections and should do the same now.
Free State and Limpopo leaders, Patricia Kopane and Jacques Smalle, respectively, said there had not been any calls for Maimane to step down.
KwaZulu-Natal provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said the sentiment that Maimane should go was misplaced because decisions in the DA were taken collectively.
“Mmusi is not going anywhere,” he insisted.
Kopane admitted that the elections were tough and complex, but Maimane should not be blamed.
She challenged Maimane’s detractors to wait for the end of his term in 2021 and contest for the position.
Northern Cape provincial leader Andrew Louw said nobody had the legal standing to ask Maimane to step down.
Louw said Maimane would stay as leader.
Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape provincial leaders Jane Sithole and Nqaba Bhanga, respectively, backed Maimane, saying it was through opposition parties’ efforts that the ANC was below 60% for the first time.
DA youth leader Luyolo Mphithi said the departures of Patricia de Lille and MP Gwen Ngwenya might have had an impact on the party’s performance in the elections.