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Leader of South Africa’s largest opposition party quits


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Leader of South Africa’s largest opposition party quits

Image copyright Getty Images The first black leader of South Africa’s largest opposition party, Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA), has resigned.Mmusi Maimane said that despite his best efforts, the traditionally white party was not the “best vehicle” to create a united South Africa.Mr Maimane will still remain as a member of parliament.This is the opposition party’s…

Leader of South Africa’s largest opposition party quits

Mmusi MaimaneImage copyright
Getty Images

The first black leader of South Africa’s largest opposition party, Africa’s Democratic Alliance (DA), has resigned.

Mmusi Maimane said that despite his best efforts, the traditionally white party was not the “best vehicle” to create a united South Africa.

Mr Maimane will still remain as a member of parliament.

This is the opposition party’s second resignation of a prominent black politician in a week.

Mr Maimane will still remain as a member of parliament.

On Monday, the party’s first black mayor resigned.

Herman Mashaba, mayor of Johannesburg, quit DA over how it handles race relations.

Mr Maimane said his decision was sparked by the re-admission to the DA of Helen Zille, a white politician who provoked widespread anger in 2017 when she praised aspects of colonialism, to the party’s highest ranks.

“The election of Zille as chair of federal council is victory for people who are opposed to my belief systems,” he said.

DA federal chairman Athol Trollip admitted the party’s shortcomings.

“The Democratic Alliance realises that we have made mistakes, we have taken things for granted,” he said at a press conference.

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Mmusi Maimane’s resignation as leader of the Democratic Alliance is a dramatic and quite possibly devastating moment for South Africa’s official opposition.

He said he was stepping down as leader because he had lost faith in the party he’s led for the past four years.

He didn’t quite spell it out, but strongly implied that a white minority in the party was blocking his attempts to reach out to more black voters and address their concerns about racial injustice.

The DA lost support in the last elections and is being torn apart by complex internal feuds.

Many South Africans believe their young democracy badly needs a strong opposition to challenge, or even unseat, the dominant but jaded African National Congress.

In 25 years, only the DA has ever come close. But the departure of its first black leader is a setback, to put it mildly.

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