Riyaz Patel

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is to convene an urgent federal executive meeting following the resignation of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

He said his decision was spurred by the return of former party leader Helen Zille – who provoked widespread anger in 2017 when she praised aspects of colonialism – to the DA’s leadership structures.

The election of Zille as Federal Council Chair this weekend represents “a victory for people in the DA who stand diametrically opposed to my beliefs and value system and I believe those of most South Africans of all backgrounds,” Mashaba said.

“I cannot reconcile myself with a group of people who believe that race is irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa in 2019.”

Herman Mashaba

Mashaba wanted to leave immediately but the party asked him to stay until a suitable candidate was found to replace him.

He is expected to vacate office on 27 November 2019.

The mayor had previously threatened to resign last week if the party was taken over by what he called “right-wing elements.”

“The events of this weekend have left me at a crossroads where I can no longer ignore the internal dynamics of the DA and the continued attempts to undermine my pro-poor agenda in the City of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said.

He said this faction didn’t want to acknowledge that South Africa was more unequal today than it was at the inception of democratic governance.

Mashaba added there were members of the DA caucus in the City who even suggested he should prioritise the needs of suburban residents above providing dignity to disenfranchised citizens who didn’t have basic services.

“I am now in a position where I am forced to choose between my party and my country. As a patriot, I will always choose my country first.”

Herman Mashaba was mayor of Johannesburg for three years.


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