WATCH: DA leadership battle intensifies

They were once the closest of allies, with Helen Zille handing over the baton to Mmusi Maimane as DA leader in 2015. Courtesy #DStv403

JOHANNESBURG – Democratic Alliance Leader Mmusi Maimane finds himself going head-to-head with his former political ally Helen Zille.

The DA leader is under pressure to step down because of the party's losses in the last general election.

Now in a veiled attack on Zille, Maimane says party members and delegates must judge candidates gunning for the Federal Executive Chair position by their public utterances.

“The candidates will reveal themselves because we've seen the utterances that people make in public and let the delegates judge for themselves when people make utterances in the public in their candidature that is not consistent with the future of the party," Maimane said.

READ: Maimane committed to 'project of building one SA for all'

Zille was suspended from all party decision making posts because of these public utterances on colonialism.

Maimane says the last time he had any interaction with Zille was when she started working at the Institute of Race Relations.

“Mme Helen Zille works for the Institute of Race Relations that's the last time we had any contact and communication and whatever she wants to do that's her own thing," he said.

Zille has described her relationship with Maimane as “cordial and descent.”

Zille went on to allude that her relationship with Maimane had been destroyed by various events that took place but says she bears no grudges.

From the 18th to the 20th of October the party's federal council will be deciding the future of the DA and ultimately Maimane's political future.