City of Joburg executive mayor, Herman Mashaba has announced his resignation from the DA and as mayor of the city effective 27 November 2019.
Mashaba’s decision comes in the wake of former DA leader, Helen Zille, winning the bid to become the party’s federal chairperson this weekend.
“I’m gravely concerned that the DA I signed up to, is no longer the DA that emerged from the weekend,” Mashaba said in a media statement on Monday.
“The election of Helen Zille as federal chair is a victory for those within the DA who stand opposed to the principles I stand for. I cannot reconcile myself with people who see race as irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa in 2019.”
The position of federal chair is akin to the role of a CEO in a company, or the secretary-general of a political party, and is said to be the second-highest political position in a party after the leader.
Zille’s return to the higher ranks of the DA follows many years of controversy – particularly over her social media posts – and conflict with senior party leaders, including Mmusi Maimane.
Ahead of the DA’s federal chair vote on the weekend, several reports citing ‘party insiders’ speculated the Mashaba would hand in his resignation should Zille gain the position.
The mayor was quoted as saying that ‘right-wing elements’ had infiltrated the DA.
Mashaba said that the delay in his resignation is to give officials enough time to find his replacement.
Zille back in the game
Speaking to EWN, Zille said that it is confusing to her that Mashaba would resign over her appointment knowing her history as someone who fought against apartheid.
“Herman knows very well that I was hiding uMkhonto We Sizwe operatives in my house when he was a businessman making many billions out of hair straighteners and things,” she said.
Zille said that her return to politics literally happened overnight after she was approached by people from within the party asking her to throw her hat into the race.
She said that she had started a new life, and was enjoying exploring the new opportunities that had presented themselves – but she also saw that the DA needed her.
“The issues facing the DA are enormous, and if the DA’s project fails, South Africa’s democracy fails,” she said.
However, she stressed that her job was not to be leader of the party, saying that she would be a ‘behind the scenes co-ordinator’, making sure that the party structures operating and interface effectively and efficiently.