South Africa’s black opposition quits party and parliament

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A day after Mmusi Maimane resigned as the first black leader of South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Maimane has announced he is quitting the party and parliament.

Maimane announced his resignation from all party structures on Twitter. The news was confirmed by a senior member of the party.

This followed his decision to step down as leader of the DA on Wednesday. He had initially indicated he would stay on as DA leader in Parliament until the end of the year.

“I have worked tirelessly to build the project of One South Africa for all. It’s been my greatest honour to serve the people of South Africa and will continue to do so. I have today resigned from the DA and Parliament. Thank you to the people of this country for your faith in our nation. God bless South Africa,” Maimane’s tweet said.

Both Maimane and federal chairperson Athol Trollip resigned from their positions in the DA on Wednesday after a marathon meeting in Bruma, east of Johannesburg.

This followed the weekend meeting of the federal council where Helen Zille was elected to replace James Selfe as the chairperson of the party’s federal council.

Herman Mashaba, the outgoing mayor of the City of Joburg, was the first to go. He had previously said he was going to resign if Zille was elected into the party’s influential position.

Maimane was elected as leader of the party in May 2015 taking over from Helen Zille. He has faced tough criticism over his handling of a variety of challenges that have gripped the party. He was criticized for not being decisive enough in handling Zille’s colonialism tweets matter.

However, the party’s poor performance and loss of support at this year’s general elections fuelled speculation about his future in the party.

 

Dominica Nwabufo