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'Electing prominent person as Fedco chair will create more tensions within DA'

The Democratic Alliance's (DA) Federal Council meeting taking place over the weekend will be crucial in mapping the way forward for a party at a crossroads.

It is of two-fold importance says Dirk Kotzé, professor in Political Sciences at the University of South Africa (Unisa) - apart from the election of a new council chairperson to replace James Selfe, it will also discuss the 2019 post-election report that recommends Mmusi Maimane step down as leader.

The election is expected to be a two-horse race between former party leader Helen Zille and Athol Trollip, with Mike Waters and Thomas Walters also in the running.

Professor Kotzé says the council chair should function as a leader behind the scenes, not someone in the limelight.

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He warns that electing a "very prominent person" like Zille would lead to the creation of what he says the ANC terms "two centres of power".

This is going to disrupt or create much more tensions within the DA.

Dirk Kotzé, Professor in Political Sciences - Unisa

The approach of Athol Trollip so far, over and above the fact that Helen Zille is a former leader, is that he is more understanding that role that this incumbent will have to play.

Dirk Kotzé, Professor in Political Sciences - Unisa

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He adds that Zille coming in with the intention of salvaging the party would be the worst kind of approach.

It means by implication to some extent a motion of no confidence in the current leadership and that's the one thing you cannot do - you cannot come in as the one to save the DA and by implication say, 'you as the current leadership are to some extent the cause of the current problem'.

Dirk Kotzé, Professor in Political Sciences - Unisa

Kotzé believes the meeting will not be taking any decisions about the future of Mmusi Maimane.

Listen to the conversation here:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Electing prominent person as Fedco chair will create more tensions within DA'


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