Bold leadership changes are afoot in the house of the
official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), with stalwart James
Selfe announcing his exit from the Federal Executive (Fedex).
Selfe, who has served as the Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive for almost two decades, will, in October, relinquish his post in favour of a new leadership position. Party leader, Mmusi Maimane, announced the change of roles following a sitting of the Party’s Federal Council at Nkululeko House in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon.
The confirmation of Selfe’s repurposing comes in the wake of
a particularly dismal electoral conference, which saw the opposition party lose
national support for the first time since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
What is the Governance Unit?
According to Maimane, the DA’s Governance Unit holds oversight concerning local administrative structures. In short, Selfe will be responsible for identifying key focus areas in metros and municipalities, both in terms of service delivery and administrative competence. Maimane explained:
“He [Selfe] will now be heading up our Governance Unit, tasked with supporting DA governments to ensure that they deliver better to citizens.
This unit will require strong leadership to ensure that we accelerate delivery towards the next elections. James has both the skill, experience and institutional knowledge to spearhead this new unit, and I welcome this decision.”
The Helen Zille question
Selfe’s appointment as head of the party’s new Governance
Unit has cast further doubt on the political future of former party leader,
Helen Zille. Despite her wealth of experience – earned during her tenure as
Western Cape premiere and mayor of Cape Town – Zille was not considered for the
position of the party’s Governance Unit head.
When questioned on recent tensions involving Zille and the
party, Maimane explained that she had not contested the appointment of Selfe,
“As far as Helen Zille [is concerned] – Helen Zille is an ordinary member of the DA.”
Zille, who sparked outrage last month, for her statements on
‘black privilege’, is subject to an internal disciplinary hearing. The former
party leader has been critical on the DA’s election campaign, which, she says,
kept her on the periphery in an attempt to ‘score black votes’.