By Zukile Majova
Helen Zille, the no-nonsense leader of the Democratic Alliance, has been the public face of the official opposition for almost two decades.
But at least one new challenger to the throne is expected to contest Zille’s position during the party’s elective Federal Congress on 1 and 2 April 2023.
Enter Lungile Phenyane from Tshwane, a political unknown who’s been named as her challenger. Phenyane, who is not even a councillor, stands no chance of dethroning Zille.
Even at age 72, Zille is expected to lead the DA into one of the biggest election campaigns ahead of the 2024 national general elections.
Over 3.6 million voters chose the DA in the 2019 elections, giving the party 20.7% of the national vote.
The party made significant gains after the 2021 municipal elections with DA mayors in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane.
But it is set to lose all three metros to the ANC-EFF coalition.
Dubbed “The Madam” by EFF leader Julius Malema, Zille has produced some of the best black political minds to South Africa’s mainstream politics.
These include former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, the founder of ActionSA; Mmusi Maimane, the founder of the One SA Movement; former DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko and recently, former Johannesburg mayor Dr Mpho Phalatse.
However, Zille has been criticised for being at the centre of the fallouts with these rising stars of her party, leading to an exodus of black leaders from the DA.
Greg Krumbock, DA Federal Congress presiding officer, said they are staging the biggest congress in the history of the party.
“The Federal Congress elects the leader, the federal chairperson and the deputy federal chairpersons.
“The members of the DA Federal Council also vote for the chairperson and three deputy chairpersons of the Federal Council, as well as the federal finance chairperson,” said Krumbock.
Current leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen, is expected to defend his position against challengers Phenyane and Phalatse.
Pictured above: Helen Zille
Image source: Helen Zille Twitter