Picture: ELIJAR MUSHIANA
Picture: ELIJAR MUSHIANA

The DA's CEO, Paul Boughey, has resigned days before the party holds its federal council meeting, where it will deal with the report of the organisational review panel and the election of a new federal council chair.

The party on Thursday said it had accepted Boughey's resignation, after close to five years in the position.

The CEO in the DA is the accounting officer who leads the party's administration and gives effect to the vision of the party's leadership.

The CEO reports to the party leader and the federal council chair and sits on bodies such as the federal council, the federal executive and the federal finance committee.

The draft review panel report, which was presented to the federal executive last weekend, suggested that the DA should no longer have a CEO.

It is also understood that the draft report included the recommendation that leader Mmusi Maimane and Boughey both resign and that the party go to an early congress.

The review was commissioned by the party in the wake of the 2019 general elections in which the DA lost support nationally, most notably in the Western Cape — the only province it governs — and in Gauteng.

The final report will be presented to this weekend's federal council meeting, where the position of federal council chair, held by James Selfe, will be contested. Selfe has resigned to head up the DA's governance unit.

Former party leader Helen Zille, as well as Athol Trollip, Thomas Walters and Mike Waters have all put themselves forward to take up the position, which is arguably the most powerful in the party.

It is, however, expected to be a to be a two-horse race between Zille and Trollip.

The lead-up to the meeting of the federal council, which is the DA’s highest decision-making body between congresses, has been fraught with internal factional battles.

In a memorandum to party structures on Thursday, Boughey said it was the right time for him to hand over the baton and to allow the leadership and new federal council chair the space to chart their own course.

“The DA is currently going through an important phase of self-reflection. This is a necessary process in order to strengthen itself,” he said.

“I have no doubt, that the leadership and broader membership of the DA will rise to this moment, that it will recalibrate and come back even stronger to face the challenges of election 2021 and beyond.”

quintalg@businesslive.co.za