DA federal council chair Helen Zilla addresses a media briefing after the resignation of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, back left, and DA federal chair Athol Trollip (right), who also stepped down. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL
DA federal council chair Helen Zilla addresses a media briefing after the resignation of DA leader Mmusi Maimane, back left, and DA federal chair Athol Trollip (right), who also stepped down. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL

Mmusi Maimane has resigned as DA leader. Addressing a media briefing late on Wednesday afternoon, Maimane was flanked by DA federal chair Athol Trollip, who also stepped down from his position.

Maimane said he would continue in his role as parliamentary leader.

“Despite my best efforts, perhaps the DA is not the best vehicle to take forward the fight for one SA for all,” Maimane said.

Trollip said his decision was not an easy one and it was taken after considerable soul searching. He said his name was not mentioned in the review report in terms of the leadership deficit in the party. “I must take responsibility having been the chairman of the party for four years,” an emotional Trollip said.

The announcements came on the same day that a DA emergency federal executive meeting was called to discuss the Monday resignation of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, among other issues.

It was a marathon meeting, in which a scheduled media briefing was delayed by almost five hours.

Mashaba’s resignation followed the election of former party leader Helen Zille as the chair of the federal council on Sunday.

The troubled Democratic Alliance is reeling from the sudden departure of two of its key figures, Mmusi Maimane and Athol Trollip. The party's leader and federal chairperson announced their resignations on October 23 2019. In a heartfelt speech, Maimane thanked those who had supported him and urged South Africans not to lose sight of the bigger picture: a democratic and united country.

Announcing his resignation, Mashaba lashed out at the opposition party, saying he no longer believed it was the same DA he signed up for. He said he did not think the DA could unseat the ANC or save SA anymore.

Maimane was at Mashaba's side at the Monday briefing, calling him his hero — a move seen as an endorsement of the former mayor’s sentiments.

Maimane’s leadership has been under increasing pressure since the DA lost support for the first time in the general election in May. A review report commissioned in the wake of the elections recommended that Maimane, former federal council chair James Selfe and former CEO Paul Boughey all resign.

Selfe was the first to resign earlier in 2019 and Boughey resigned last week. Maimane was the last one standing.

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