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DA to hold urgent federal executive meeting after Mashaba’s resignation

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba announced his resignation this morning and is set to vacate the office on 27 November 2019.

Heman Mashaba announces his resignation as Johannesburg Mayor on 21 October 2019. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said it would hold an urgent federal executive meeting to discuss operations in the City of Johannesburg following the resignation of Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Mashaba said one of the reasons he resigned from the party was because he could not reconcile with a group of people who believed race was irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa.

He is expected to vacate the office on 27 November 2019. Mashaba wanted to leave immediately but the party asked him to stay until a suitable candidate was found to replace him.

He resigned less than 24 hours after former DA and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was appointed party Federal Council chair on Sunday – a move that has divided the official opposition. The mayor had threatened to resign last week if the party was taken over by what he called “right-wing elements”.

Following this year’s general elections, Zille joined the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) as a senior policy fellow, a position she stepped down from after a nomination for the Federal Council chair. Some members of the DA have disagreed sharply with the role of the IRR in the DA.

‘ATTEMPTS TO UNDERMINE MY PRO-POOR AGENDA’

Mashaba had quite a lot to say about his relationship with the DA, but at the core of his myriad of issues was the question of the contestations in the party over its race-related policies.

He described the election of Zille as a victory for leaders in the party who were opposed to his beliefs.

Mashaba said there were members of the DA caucus in the City who even suggested he should prioritise the needs of suburban residents above providing dignity to disenfranchised citizens who didn’t have basic services.

“The events of this weekend have left me at a crossroads where I can no longer ignore the internal dynamics of the DA and the continued attempts to undermine my pro-poor agenda in the City of Johannesburg,” Mashaba said. “I am now in a position where I am forced to choose between my party and my country. As a patriot, I will always choose my country first.”

He said this faction didn’t want to acknowledge that South Africa was more unequal today than it was at the inception of democratic governance.

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