South Africa: Johannesburg’s mayor resigns over race row

Oct 22, 2019

One of the most senior politicians in South Africa’s historically white main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Herman Mashaba,  has resigned his post and quit the party over how it handles race.

Mashaba was mayor of Johannesburg for three years.

The BBC reports that the election of a black mayor from the DA was seen as a sign that the party could potentially threaten the ruling African National Congress (ANC)’s grip on power at the national level.

But at a press conference on Monday, Mr. Masaba said: “I cannot reconcile myself with people who believe that race is not important in their discussion of inequalities.”

The Mayor said his decision was sparked by the re-admission of Helen Zille, a white politician who provoked widespread anger in 2017, when she praised aspects of colonialism, to the party’s high ranks:

“The election of [Helen] Zille as chair of the federal council is a victory for people who are opposed to my belief systems,” Mashaba added.

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