Mazibuko’s departure ‘a loss’

2014-05-12 00:00

LINDIWE Mazibuko’s decision to quit Parliament soon after last week’s general elections could be a loss to a party that was hoping to attract more black voters.

“Lindiwe Mazibuko had become the face of the party for black voters and it is going to be a great loss to the DA,” University of KZN politics lecturer Zakhele Ndlovu said yesterday.

Ndlovu said it would come as a surprise if Mazibuko’s departure was part of the current leadership tussle and she had jumped ship before the contest for a new leader of the parliamentary caucus for the next term.

“It would be a great shock if it is the case, but that is a possibility. It now depends on how they will spin it out,” he added.

Mazibuko resigned on Saturday in order to pursue higher education in the U.S. The Sunday Times reported yesterday that she had made the announcement to the paper before notifying party leader Helen Zille in Cape Town on Saturday.

Her resignation follows the much publicised falling-out with Zille over the DA parliamentary caucus’s handling of the employment equity legislation.

There has since been speculation that Mazibuko would be challenged by Zille’s new favourite, DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane, when fresh elections were held for the position of parliamentary leader.

It had been previously reported that Mazibuko did not enjoy much support from her entire caucus and her re-election was not guaranteed.

In a statement published in the Sunday Times, Mazibuko said she had applied for admission to the masters in public administration programme at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

“I believe anybody who aspires to leadership and government in South Africa must be able to master the economy and answer the critical question about our future: How do we improve the lives of the poorest South Africans? How will we create jobs? How can we reduce inequality?”

She said she remained a committed DA member and that she had made the correct decision.

“I will be back with new energy and new ideas and I look forward to playing my part in building the future South Africa,” Mazibuko said.

In a statement, Zille said they rejoiced with Mazibuko at the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity of joining the prestigious programme.

“The DA looks forward to her return, and to her re-engagement in active politics. Both she and the DA will be greatly enriched by her experience,” she said.

Ndlovu said it was good for South Africa to have leaders who value education.

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