South Africa’s former president, Thabo Mbeki, joins the debate over allegations that the Democratic Alliance (DA) is using racist policies to run the organisation, following Mmusi Maimane’s departure from the party.
In a statement on Friday, 25 October 2019, through the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, Mbeki said that he now understood “that racism was deeply enshrined in the country, as it was reflected in the recent developments within the DA,” the country’s official opposition.
According to the country’s constitution, he said, all registered political formations have an obligation to contribute to efforts to make South Africa a non-racial country.
However, the former president said he was worried that some political leaders and activists were “still using the race card to fulfil their selfish political gains.”
He appealed to the DA “not to sustain colonial and apartheid social relations in the country,” adding that “millions of South Africans will gain nothing from any negative movement in any of the political parties towards policies based on racism.”
Maimane resigned as leader of his former party on Wednesday, 23 October 2019, and on Thursday, 24 October 2019, completed the move by stepping down from his parliamentary seat and his membership of the DA, a party forged out of the remnants of the former ruling National Party – an all-white architect of the country’s institutionalised racist policies.
Apart from Mbeki, Maimane has also been comforted by fellow opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, who encouraged him not to despair on Twitter.
“You are a good man,” Malema tweeted.