A bruising battle with De Lille and the emergence of a black caucus not supportive of Maimane revealed the cracks in his armour had become fissures.
The DA was punished by voters in the May elections. Many split their votes and voted for Cyril Ramaphosa nationally or the FF+ provincially. When Jacob Zuma was in the presidential hot seat, Maimane questioned the former president’s integrity, using the parliamentary platform.
So when the spotlight turned to Maimane’s lifestyle, and questions over his integrity emerged, the public perception was that Maimane was no longer a bastion of integrity. He was accused of driving a vehicle gifted by disgraced businessman, Markus Jooste. The rental vehicle was paid for by Steinhoff.
There were also claims that Maimane wasn’t paying a market-related lease for the house he currently stays in.
The party’s finance committee chairperson Dion George said there was a delay in returning the car to Steinhoff because Maimane was overseas.
The latest revelation is that a report compiled by Leon at the party’s request, looking at Maimane’s leadership, as well as the DA’s poor performance at the polls in May, recommended Maimane step down.
Zille then emerged as a contender for chair of the all-powerful Federal Council, and it is not difficult to join the dots to see that Maimane’s position is under threat.
Maimane has the backing of the party’s provincial leaders, but history has shown there is only one winner when someone takes on Zille.