Mangosuthu Buthelezi, president emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and its parliamentary leader, praised former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane for the way he led his party in Parliament.
Speaking at a party function for parliamentary journalists on Wednesday night, Buthelezi said he was sure all of South Africa was surprised at Maimane’s resignation as party leader and Athol Trollip’s decision to step down as party chairperson.
An accolade for Maimane from Parliament’s oldest and longest-serving MP and someone who stepped down as leader of his own party not so long ago: “Mr Maimane’s commitment to liberty and democracy is beyond any question and he has served with the utmost dedication. His leadership of the Democratic Alliance undoubtedly served the cause of greater social cohesion, and for that, we all honour him.”
Buthelezi said the IFP could not afford to gloat over the misfortunes of the DA as they served one country and were part of the governing coalition in the City of Johannesburg.
“Our greatest hope now is that the path ahead will be decided with the good of our country as the first priority. We wish both Honourable Maimane and Honourable Trollip well and we’re with the Democratic Alliance wisdom in this difficult moment.”
A SPLIT ON THE CARDS FOR DA?
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald believes the DA is going to see more high-profile departures and that it could possibly split.
The Freedom Front Plus made significant gains in the May elections, more than doubling its number of seats in Parliament – with much of its new-found support believed to come from disenchanted traditional DA voters.
It’s the party which arguably stands to gain the most from the crisis in the DA.
Groenewald believes Maimane and Trollip’s resignations from their leadership positions could leave the country’s biggest opposition party mortally wounded.
“This is the beginning of the breaking down of the wall, of the dam… and I foresee there’s going to be a further outflow of high-profile members of the Democratic Alliance. In political terms, we always say the party is going to start bleeding, up until its death.”
Groenewald predicted a poor showing by the DA in the local government elections looming in 2021.
“That will actually further confirm what quite a lot of commentators already said, that in the end, the Democratic Alliance may split to form other new political parties.”
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