Former President Thabo Mbeki has weighed in on the leadership crisis engulfing the Democratic Alliance (DA).
In a statement on his Facebook page on Thursday evening, Mbeki said in his understanding, DA’s crisis has to do with “the continuing challenge of racism in our country.”
He said, “In this context, I wish to emphasise that, consistent with our Constitution, all our registered political formations have an absolute obligation practically to contribute to the national effort to make ours a non-racial country.”
‘Ascendance of a racist tendency’
The former President said it would be “of the greatest concern” if it was true that DA’s current challenges are the result of a “hegemonic ascendance of a racist tendency” which seeks to “sustain colonial and apartheid social relations.”
“The DA has an imperative obligation to reassure the nation, practically, unequivocally and transparently, that it is conducting and will conduct itself in terms of all its internal and public policies and programmes in a manner which truly helps to transform South Africa into a non-racial country,” Mbeki added.
He said this is a constitutional imperative and those who go against it “commit a criminal act against both the ordinary people in our country and the post-apartheid legal order.”
He added, “This is an obligation which binds all the political parties which serve within our legislatures, without exception.”
‘One South Africa for All’
Mbeki was reacting to the resignations of Mmusi Maimane as DA leader, MP and member, as well as those of ex-Federal Chairperson Athol Trollip and outgoing Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba earlier this week.
In his resignation speech on Wednesday, Maimane said there “does exist a few in the DA who do not share this vision” of One South Africa for All.
Although he introduced the Diversity Clause to make the DA more representative of all races, he suggested that “perhaps the DA is not the vehicle best suited to take forward the vision.”
Mashaba made similar comments in his resignation speech. He slammed DA for no longer being a party “that can save South Africa, unseat the ANC and deliver One South Africa for All.”
He added, “I cannot reconcile myself with a group of people who believe that race is irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa in 2019.”
However, in a statement on Thursday, DA’s Federal Executive said the party “remains committed to our values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity.”