Maimane: No place in the DA for those who seek to divide

2015-05-10 15:20
Mmusi Maimane speaking after he was elected leader of the DA. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Mmusi Maimane speaking after he was elected leader of the DA. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Maimane says Mandela's ideals are realised in the DA

2015-05-10 14:53

Speaking after his confirmation as new leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane said he looked forward to building a reconciled, non-racial South Africa. Watch.WATCH

Port Elizabeth - The newly elected Democratic Alliance leader did not beat around the bush when he told delegates and media on Sunday that there will be no room in the party for "those who seek to divide".

Mmusi Maimane said the party contested elections, and when they ever fought, it should be fighting the ''real enemies'' - poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Maimane was elected the new leader of the opposition DA in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, also making him the first black leader of the party.

''Your new leader is Mmusi Maimane” said outgoing federal leader Helen Zille to cheers and shrieks by delegates at the party's federal congress as she announced her successor.

Maimane and Zille embraced as confetti streamed down and stage fireworks went off.

He was joined on stage by his wife Natalie as people sang: "On your marks, get set, we are ready for Mmusi Maimane."

In his first speech as party leader, addressing delegates as "democrats", he said he wanted the DA to be a non-racial party that built a new home for all South Africans.

He said every child had a chance to make a success of their lives.

"I simply don't agree with those who see colour. If you don't see that I am black, then you don't see me at all," he said.

The apartheid system devised by former apartheid head of state Hendrik Verwoerd was "evil and deplorable" and it was possible to transcend racial inequality.

"My dream is a dream where the child of a domestic worker can go to university and emerge as a teacher, doctor, lawyer."

Tear down statues

He said Zille's commitment to diversify the party led to its growth, and that the next part of the DA story still had to be written.

"We must be able to say one day that there is a DA president in South Africa."

Hinting again at the road forward, Maimane urged members to ensure their message of hope is more powerful than the message of hate.

"While they are tearing down statues, we will be building schools and creating jobs."

"While they illegally invade land, we will be implementing successful land reform programmes."

"While they trade on the divisions of the past, we will position the DA as the party of tomorrow."

He said the country's Constitution must be protected at all cost.

"We must continue to pursue our legal battles against the powerful and the corrupt," he said before referring to the country's president directly.

"President [Jacob] Zuma, if you are watching this programme, we are still coming for you. Make no mistake Mr President, you will have your day in court.''

He said the DA would always serve the people in the country ''and not the other way around''.

''We will be the next government,'' he said.

22% of the vote

He thanked his ''gorgeous wife'' for supporting him during the tough times and for being a ''wonderful mother'' to their two children.

The party garnered 22.23% of the national vote in last year’s elections.

The federal leadership position was contested by Maimane, outgoing federal chairperson Wilmot James and two other members, Adrian Naidoo and Morgan Oliphant.

Also announced at the federal congress, held over the weekend at the Boardwalk conference centre, were the appointments to the federal council, three deputy federal chairpersons and the federal chairperson result.

They are federal chairperson of finance Alf Lees, with deputy chairperson of federal council Thomas Walters. Third deputy chairperson is Desiree van der Walt, second deputy chairperson Refiloe Ntsekhe and the first federal deputy chairperson Ivan Meyer.

Athol Trollip was announced as the federal chairperson.

On April 12, Zille announced that she would not seek re-election as party leader at the congress, after eight years at the helm.

At the time, she said she would continue as Western Cape Premier until the end of her term in mid-2019.

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  port elizabeth
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