Mbeki's warning as DA scrambles: Don't shatter SA's dream of non-racialism

2019-10-24 19:51
Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Chanté Schatz, News24)

Former DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Chanté Schatz, News24)

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"I have understood from the statements made by the various leaders of the Democratic Alliance [DA], including Mr Mmusi Maimane, that the current developments within the DA have to do with the continuing challenge of racism in our country." 

So says former president Thabo Mbeki (in a typically academic fashion) who has now added his voice to commentary around the political crisis unfolding in South Africa's second-largest political party.

READ: 'Don't be discouraged, my big brother' - Malema's message to Maimane

Mbeki made the statement after a week of major disruption and upheaval in the official opposition which saw the likes of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and, most recently, DA federal chairperson and federal leader Athol Trollip and Mmusi Maimane, respectively, bow out from the blue party.

Mmusi Maimane and Herman Mashaba

Mmusi Maimane hugs Herman Mashaba who resigned as mayor of Johannesburg. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

"In this context, I wish to emphasise that, consistent with our Constitution, all our registered political formations have an absolute obligation practically to contribute to the national effort to make ours a non-racial country.

"It would be a matter of the greatest concern if it were in fact true that our country's official opposition, the DA, is going through a leadership crisis because of a hegemonic ascendance of a racist tendency which seeks to assert policies to that end to sustain colonial and apartheid social relations.

"The millions of our people and our constitutional order will gain absolutely nothing from any negative movement in any of our political parties toward policies based on racism.

"The DA has an imperative obligation to reassure the nation, practically, unequivocally and transparently, that it is conducting and will conduct itself in terms of all its internal and public policies and programmes in a manner which truly helps to transform South Africa into a non-racial country."

Mbeki goes on to say that "this is an obligation which binds all the political parties which serve within our legislatures, without exception".

FULL STATEMENT | Mmusi Maimane's final words as opposition leader: 'DA not suited to build One South Africa for All'

Mmusi Maimane announced his resignation as the DA's leader, saying the party is not the vehicle best suited to take forward the vision of building one South Africa for all. He says as the leader of the DA he relentlessly sought to grow the party, specifically for black South Africans.

"Together, these must ensure that as elected representatives of the people, they faithfully discharge their solemn obligation to contribute to the building of the South Africa prescribed in our Constitution.

"Those who organise and act to frustrate the realisation of the goals detailed in our Constitution must understand that thereby they commit a criminal act against both the ordinary people in our country and the post-apartheid legal order which has sought to defend the interests of all our people without regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation or creed."

- Compiled by Ethan Van Diemen

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  helen zille  |  athol ­trollip  |  thabo mbeki  |  mmusi mai­mane  |  herman mashaba  |  politics
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