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South Africa’s largest official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has elected a black man originally from Dobsonville for the first time in its history . He is young and gifted and it did not come as a shock as Mr. Mmusi Maimane (34) was elected as DA leader in its 2-day Federal Congress held in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape over the past weekend.
The Democratic Alliance is perceived to be a white party by most South Africans, so on that note there was a need for change to crown it as a diverse party, and of course almost each and every member of the party was mentioning the name of Mmusi Maimane as a possible candidate to take this organisation higher.
The congress followed the announcement by the former leader Helen Zille, who said she was not available for the next congress. Mr. Maimane contested this position with the DA veteran, and the former DA Federal Chairperson the honourable Wilmont James.
In his speech Mr. Maimane as a new leader of the Democratic Alliance said, he is prepared to take the party to another level for his love of South Africa, and the legacy left by President Mandela. He continued by saying Democrats should not be trapped in the past.
The interesting issue about this DA Federal Congress is that it was televised on SABC 2, but there was a legal battle backstage, where the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was forced to televise this congress on SABC 2 – a free channel – and not on SABC 404 -a paid Channel – which was SABCs preference. The question was, how many people were going to watch it on a paid channel, when of course most people could not afford to do so?
Indeed, it is true that when the ANC stages big events or functions, SABC as a public broadcaster goes all out to televise it on the free channel SABC 2 for the whole day so that it can be seen by the entire population, but then when it is the opposition parties’ turn, especially the first and the second official largest opposition parties, they avoid televising them.
*The title of this article was changed on the 13th May to say “Black African” instead of “African” after a reader alerted us to the inaccuracy of the statement. Of course all previous DA leaders were also Africans given that they were South Africans, regardless of their skin colour.