Parliamentary leader for the opposition Democratic Alliance, Lindiwe Mazibuko, delivers a speech on November 15, 2012. in the parliament in Cape Town.
JOHANNESBURG - DA leader Helen Zille has dismissed rumours that the party’s spokesperson Mmusi Maimane will replace Lindiwe Mazibuko as parliamentary leader.
Mazibuko is taking a year-long sabbatical to study in the United States.
She informed Zille of her decision to quit her DA job over the weekend.
Mazibuko&39;s been the party&39;s parliamentary leader for three years.
Mazibuko said she will now be cheering on the DA from the sidelines, but she remains a committed member and supporter of the official opposition.
Meanwhile, Zille said the move is not a sign of unease in the party.
"She wants to have a year out to reflect and consolidate. Being enriched by other world leaders, and it will be a fantastic opportunity for her.
"Of course I am sad to see her go, but she’s not lost permanently, and she is coming back," said Zille.
Political analyst Harald Pakendorf said the news is unlikely to affect the DA.
“I think giving her a year to go study at Harvard is a good thing. It does dent the image of the DA in short term, but there’s so much other political news at the moment with the elections,” said Pakendorf.
Mazibuko said she&39;s proud to have served as DA parliamentary leader since October 2011, and she will be back with new energy and new ideas to play a part in building the future.
- This report has been updated with Helen Zille&39;s comment.