/ 20 December 2021

Bongani Baloyi’s resignation catches DA off guard

Former Midvaal mayor Solly Msimanga has left the Democratic Alliance.

The resignation of one of the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) young and brightest leaders Bongani Baloyi has come as a shock to the provincial leaders. 

Speaking to the Mail & Guardian shortly after Baloyi announced his shock resignation from the party, DA Gauteng provincial leader Solly Msimanga said that it was sad that Baloyi had decided to resign. 

“He was a great asset and the expectation was that he would still contribute. It came to us as a surprise, he had said he wanted to take some time out for the sake of relaxing after his term of office but it was never that he wanted to leave the party,” Msimanga said. 

Baloyi, who was lauded for his stellar record as the mayor of Midvaal in both DA and ANC circles, announced his resignation from the party on social media on Monday morning. 

In his Twitter post, Baloyi said he was leaving on his own terms, with a clean track record in government and the party. 

Thanking his friends and colleagues within the party, the former Midvaal mayor said it was  time for him to focus on exciting opportunities before him. 

“It has been an amazing 14 years which I will always be proud of and I will remain grateful to the DA for their support and opportunities afforded to me. I leave out of my own agency. Not because I am being purge [sic] or any nonsense,” he said. 

Baloyi was the country’s youngest mayor to emerge from the 2016 local government elections. He was also touted to be among those who would be leading figures in the party. Many within the party had high hopes that Baloyi would emerge as provincial chair in Gauteng when the party goes to its elective conference. 

Also taking to social media, the DA wrote a brief statement which thanked Baloyi for having demonstrated the DA’s commitment to clean and efficient government that serves people as its top priority. 

“We have noted that Bongani is pursuing other opportunities after a decade-long career in politics. We wish him well and throw our support fully behind him,” the party statement said. 

Baloyi is the third prominent young leader to make an exit in party politics this year. One of the DA’s key strategists and former head of governance James Selfe retired from duty in parliament and as an active member of the party. Selfe had served as DA federal council chair and mentor to many of its current leaders for over two decades. 

Baloyi now joins the ranks of former MP Phumzile van Damme who resigned from the party in May. This after she was embroiled in a feud with the party leader John Steenhuisen after she was allegedly forced into taking a sabbatical. 

Steenhuisen told the media that the sabbatical — which coincided with his decision to oust her in his cabinet — was a result of her health. Steenhuisen replaced Van Damme as spokesperson in the communication department with Zakhele Mbhele shortly after he was elected party leader.

The forthright party leader then took to social media accusing Steenhuisen of using her illness to sideline her.