Zille has voiced her support for Jacob Zuma


Helen Zille becomes DA leader in the wake of Maimane’s resignation

Zille will step in to fill the void… for now.

Zille has voiced her support for Jacob Zuma


Helen Zille is the acting leader of the DA until the party’s federal council can elect an interim leader to act until the next DA federal congress in April, the DA federal legal commission has decided.

She holds the position because as chairperson of the party’s federal executive (a position she has held since Sunday) she is the highest democratically elected person in the DA structures now that former DA leader Mmusi Maimane and former DA national chairperson Athol Trollip have both resigned from the DA.

John Steenhuisen replaced by Annelie Lotriet

By the same logic, Dr Annelie Lotriet, chairperson of the DA parliamentary caucus, will act as DA parliamentary leader in the place of Maimane until the caucus can elect a new DA parliamentary leader, because she holds the highest elected position in the DA parliamentary caucus.

Lotriet told TheSouthAfrican that she has asked the DA federal executive (which has not yet accepted or denied the request) for permission to open nominations for the position of DA parliamentary leader until Tuesday so that the caucus can elect its new leader next Thursday.

The same logic holds for the acting chief whip of the DA in parliament. This position is held by Jacques Julius, the current DA deputy chief whip, who is the highest elected person in the DA whippery. He will act as chief whip until the newly elected parliamentary leader can appoint a new chief whip.

Helen Zille in charge of the DA… ‘for now’

According to former DA chief whip John Steenhuisen, the federal council may meet as soon as next weekend to elect the interim leader who will fill the position until the DA congress in April.

Steenhuisen, whose term as chief whip automatically expired when Maimane (as the leader who appointed him) resigned, remains a DA member and a DA MP. He confirmed that he has been approached by several people to be a candidate for the position of parliamentary leader, that he is giving it serious consideration and that he will make an announcement at an opportune moment.

The most important remaining question is how many prominent DA members and public representatives will resign in protest against what they perceive as the move to the right which the triumph of the Zille faction over the Maimane faction represents.

The South African is aware of at least three high profile DA MPs who are household names and who intend to resign. Their names will be published if and as soon as they resign, but are being withheld in case they change their minds.

On a lower level, defections from the DA to the ANC have started in KwaZulu Natal. According to the ANC, three former DA branch chairpersons and several ordinary DA members crossed over to the ANC today.

The branch chairpersons formerly chaired the DA branches at the University of KwaZulu Natal Durban, at the township of Esikhawini outside Richards Bay and in the Durban suburb of Overport, the ANC said.