Zille says she will not be contesting the party’s federal congress elections in May. The Western Cape Premier made the announcement at a media briefing at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. she will continue to lead the Western Cape as premier but has decided to step aside for a new leader to take over the reigns of the party.

Here is an exert from her press release – “So, from the day I was elected on May 6 2007, I knew that if I was re-elected at subsequent Congresses, the outside limit of my leadership term would be the 2017/8 Congress. In the last few years I have often asked myself whether I should stay till then, or whether the party would benefit from fresh blood to remain exciting and relevant, and grow its support base to build the non-racial centre of South African politics.

Facing the upcoming congress I have spent months wondering whether it is time to go now, or whether I should wait two more years. While May 2015 may be slightly too early, the greater risk is that May 2017 may be slightly too late. And I would rather err on the side of being ahead of my time. I have, therefore, decided not to make myself available for re-election as leader at the forthcoming Congress.

This decision has, paradoxically, been a long time coming — but when the time was right, it was taken quickly, even suddenly. On Thursday last week, I took a firm decision that I would not stand for re-election as leader next month.”

The overriding reason has been what I believe are the interests of the DA.