Mmusi Maimane lifts the lid on DA’s ‘minority’ strategy
Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane has hit back at his successor John Steenhuisen and for the first time since his much-talked-about departure, he dug into the ‘real’ reason behind the opposition party’s botched 2019 election campaign.
Mmusi Maimane hits back at John Steenhuisen
Maimane, now an independent activist of the One South Africa movement, took to Twitter to react to Steenhuisen’s Sunday Times spread, where it was insinuated that the DA’s campaign fail was on his hands.
“The party was unable to deliver a coherent message. Voters don’t have time to digest huge chunks; they have got to understand by looking at your poster and being able to understand your message, and the DA tried to focus too much on the trick shots rather than getting the basics right. The messaging was way too diffused,” Steenhuisen said.
Maimane disagrees. In a Twitter thread, the party’s 2019 campaign head clarified that the DA did not lose because of him, “but because of John and Helen Zille.”
“I wanted us to grow our voter base among the middle class and the youth of SA. That requires speaking to them about issues that matter to them. John and Helen closed that gate. As you can see from their present messaging and tactics,” he wrote.
Maimane added that he could not idle by and allow the central campaign message to denounce the existence of white privilege or that race is a factor that continues to divide South Africa.
“As a leader, I can’t go to a university student and say there is no white privilege, race is not a factor in South Africa. I would be lying to them and they would call me out on my BS,” he explained.
Ideological differences, marked by the infamous return of Zille to head the DA’s federal executive, led to an exodus of black leaders with Maimane at the front.
Putting it bluntly, the former DA leader claimed “John and Helen do not care about fixing the problems of this nation.”
“They care about the Western Cape and maintaining power there. They have given up on the national project and are now going back to the historic voters of the party and abandoning the rest,” he charged.
Steenhuisen wants DA to coalign with Ramaphosa in 2024
Steenhuisen maintained, in his interview, that the DA has not reverted to conversation politics. Rather, the plan, in his own words, is to “position the DA to be at the rational centre of South African politics and to be a strong ally for growth.”
This, he said, would, under the right circumstances, require the DA to form a coalition government with the ANC after the 2024 elections, if — and only if – President Cyril Ramaphosa secures another term.
“Would I rather work with Cyril Ramaphosa than Ace Magashule? Without a shadow of a doubt. The president has got problems in his own party, which is why I think that more than ever before, a strong centred party for growth… makes a perfect ally for the reform agenda within the ANC to find backing.
Maimane scoffed at this as a concession of defeat.
“They are officially out of opposition are now themselves a faction of the ANC. It’s an admission of defeat. A recognition that they can’t grow,” Maimane said.