AFRICANGLOBE – Mmusi Maimane was recently elected the new leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA). He is the youngest and the first Black person to lead the official opposition after Helen Zille in April announced she would step down as party leader.
Some 1,183 delegates voted yesterday morning during the 2015 DA Federal Congress in Port Elizabeth.
Mmusi Maimane has been elected as the new leader of the Democratic Alliance.
“Your new leader is Mmusi Maimane,” Zille announced to loud cheers at the party’s annual conference, after she opened a sealed envelope containing the election results.
Maimane (34), the party’s parliamentary leader, was seen as the clear favourite to succeed Zille in the election, in which 1,425 delegates from across the country voted by secret ballot.
Maimane beat the party’s federal chairman‚ Wilmot James‚ in what has been described as an intense leadership struggle to succeed Zille.
On April 12 this year, Zille made a shock announcement that she would not seek re-election as party leader at the congress, after eight years at the helm of the party.
In his speech after being elected Maimane promised that the DA would be the next government of South Africa.
In his victory speech‚ Maimane‚ who described his election as “deeply humbling”‚ said the hopes of 1994 when South Africa’s first democratic elections were held meant nothing to the country’s young people.
He said the DA needed to “connect with everyone” and bring about “one nation with one future”.
In a warning to the country’s leader‚ he said: “President Zuma‚ if you are watching: we are still coming for you.”
On the issue of race, the newly elected DA leader said there is no room in the party for those who want to divide or mobilise on race.
“It is healthy for us to engage in a robust debate, but let me be clear upfront. Here in this party there will be no room for those who seek to divide or those who want to mobilise on the basis of race.”
“We must challenge one another’s ideas in a constructive manner, for this is how we learn from each other and grow and be stronger.”
Former DA leader Tony Leon told delegates earlier the new man in the post will have to adapt strategies where necessary to continue the growth of the party.
“He must rebuild that constitutional bridge, and he must live as Helen Zille has led, that public office is a place for principled achievement, not a perch to acquire wealth, or a hideout for criminal misbehaviour.”