Posted on January 28, 2014

Black Leader Joins ‘White’ Opposition in South Africa

Joel B. Pollak, Breitbart, January 28, 2014

South Africa’s leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), stunned political observers Tuesday with the announcement that Mamphela Ramphele, a leading black anti-apartheid activist, will be the party’s candidate for president in national elections against the troubled African National Congress later this year. The DA, whose leaders have largely been white, has struggled for decades to appeal to the black majority of voters.

DA leader Helen Zille called Ramphele’s decision to join her party a “game-changing moment for South Africa.” The move is likely to boost the fortunes of the DA significantly, while setting aside the independent political ambitions of Ramphele. In 2013, Ramphele had led dissatisfied black voters out of the ANC in a new party, Agang (“Build”) that struggled to gain wide traction beyond its thin constituency within the new black middle class. The ANC is still widely expected to win the elections, albeit with a significantly reduced majority.


{snip} Surveys suggest black voters like the DA but are not yet ready to trust it.

Ramphele’s decision to join the party may begin to change that. She will be the third black leader atop the party, including Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, a former Pan Africanist Congress figure, and parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko. However, Ramphele’s appeal is primarily among the black business and professional elite–which remains skeptical of the DA–and she may not attract a large number voters from South Africa’s poor.