South Africa Opposition Elects Maimane First Black Leader | Independent Newspapers Limited
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South Africa Opposition Elects Maimane First Black Leader

Posted: May 11, 2015 at 9:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has elected its first black leader.

Mmusi Maimane, 34, succeeds Helen Zille, who resigned unexpectedly last month.

He faced party chairman Wilmot James for the job, and was elected at a party conference in Port Elizabeth.

The DA has long battled perceptions it is a white party representing those who benefited from apartheid.

The party increased its share of the vote in the 2014 elections, but has struggled to present itself as an alternative to the ANC, who have governed South Africa since the end of apartheid.

Ms Zille herself has suggested the party needs a black leader if it is ever to unseat the ANC.

She told the Citizen newspaper she was “relieved” to no longer be leader, but would continue to campaign for the party.

“I will do what the new leadership would like me to do without trying to lead from behind and interfering,” she said.

Mr Maimane has advanced quickly in the party, only joining the DA in 2009.