South Africa – Mmusi’s DA (2)

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Figurehead with little influence

In response to a question about one of his points about Maimane not being an effective leader thus far, Wits’ Southall has this to say. “There was always a suggestion that [Maimane] was backed as a relatively inoffensive black successor by Zille, and he has to try to span the awkward divisions across race within the DA, wherein there is quite a powerful old white guard. So the battles within the DA tend to reflect that.”


New African also sought to know why Wits’ Southall thought Maimane had thus far failed to capture the public imagination.


“Maimane is a preacher, so has some reasonable ability to capture the public imagination in public speaking, but is not particularly ‘charismatic’, and in fact is less publicly appealing in many ways than Zille in her prime, who speaks fluent Xhosa, was a very good campaigner in the townships, and could dance with the best of them.”


“Maimane is a bit stilted. To be fair, it’s a difficult role he has to fill.  And as an opposition leader, he has to compete with [Julius] Malema, who is bombastic, full of fiery speeches, and makes a public spectacle, and is always in the news. In fact, he creates news, Maimane doesn’t.”


A recent incident vindicates some of the points raised by Wits’ Southall. No, the pertinent example is not the “forty-four out of ten South Africans don’t have a job” slip of the tongue Maimane suffered on the campaign trail in March.


It is rather the faux pas Maimane committed during Ramaphosa’s question and answer session in parliament in early March, when he attempted to ask a question in the local language. He made a mistake in the use of the … Read More...