A potential split and a renewed factional battle are two of the possibilities that might emerge at the conclusion of this weekend’s DA Federal Council meeting.
The country’s official opposition party heads into the weekend for its Federal Council meeting divided as ever before.
The two-day meeting will see the election of the new chairperson of the Federal Council and also resolutions to be taken over the party’s 2019 electoral performance.
The resignation of the chief executive officer Paul Boughey just before the meeting has further added fire that this will be a watershed weekend for the party.
While Boughey maintains that he resigned out of his own free will, many believe he already knew the recommendations of the much-anticipated report.
It is believed that the report recommends that party leader Mmusi Maimane should step down from his position.
Following the DA’s dismal performance in the May general elections, where the party loss its conservative Afrikaans support to the Freedom Front Plus.
Maimane was always going to be asked to step down from his position before his tenure ends.
However, should the DA’s Federal Council decides to implement the report’s recommendations and relieve Maimane from his duties.
The party might expect a major split ever experienced before.
Black leaders in the party such as Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba have already made it clear that should the party be allowed to be taken by ‘right-wing’ elements, he will leave the party.
The ‘right-wing’ element, in this case, comes in the form of research and policy organisation Institute of Race Relations (IRR).
IRR, which is rumoured to have a huge influence and a strong ally in the form of Helen Zille, had called for Maimane to step down and allow a white leader to take over.
Should the Federal Council then endorse such a move and fire Maimane, Mashaba and the rest of the black caucus will easily conclude that the IRR linked faction has taken over the party.
Zille, who is a favourite to replace James Selfe as the chairperson, has publicly made it clear she is not happy with the party’s direction under Maimane’s leadership.
It is clear that should she emerge victorious on Sunday, she and Maimane will have difficulty in working together.
Both Zille and Maimane want to take the party in different directions.
The DA members have a choice to make in voting for a new Federal chair.
Whether they want the party to remain a haven of classical white liberals or a non-racial party.
Most importantly, a party which aims to one day run the Union Building office.
The white vote alone will certainly not give the party the power it desperately needs.