First black leader of South Africa’s opposition: Mmusi Maimane

Democratic Alliance Party elects its first black leader, pledging fight against fairer society

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) Party, which is traditionally led by white politicians, on Sunday elected Mmusi Maimane as its new leader, makinng him the first black parson to leadthe party.

The newly-elected Maimane pledged that he would fight for a fairer society with equal opportunities for all people in South Africa.

The DA officials hope Maimane’s leadership will help the party’s appeal in the country which is deeply divided along racial lines despite the fall of racism when the legend political figure Nelson Mandela, also well-known as Madiba, was elected as the first black president, after 27 years of imprisonment.

The majority of black people in South Africa is still living in poverty, which is the prior issue to be focused by the DA Party, according to Maimane who was also born in poverty in the black township of Soweto in Johannesburg.

The latest official data by the South African government show that one in every four South Africans is jobless.

"We accept the fact that black South Africans in the main have been disadvantaged by our past.... Where we want to get to, is to build a society," said Maimane, during the press conference.

"The destination surely must be building a diverse society."

62-year-old Helen Zille, the former leader of the DA for the last eight years, stepped down after her last election in 2014, winning 22 percent of the votes, while Mandela’s governing African National Congress won more than 60 percent of the votes.

Mmusi Maimane (34) became the DA’s national spokesman in 2011, starting his rise in politics. After three years, he was nominated to provincial government of South Africa's richest province, Gauteng, in 2014 national elections. However, he lost the elections, but shortly afterwards he took up his position in the party as the parliamentary leader.

TRTWorld and agencies