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Seremane lacks black backing

By unknown | May 07, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Kingdom Mabuza

Kingdom Mabuza

The DA's most senior black official does not seem to enjoy the support of the black membership in his party.

And it seems the white membership does not like Joe Seremane either.

Seremane was retained as party chairman in yesterday's elections.

Only 65 delegates out of 1000 voted for Seremane.

Helen Zille got 786 votes to become the party's new leader. Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip came second .

The victorious Zille said Seremane would be retained as chairman and together would "lead" the party.

"Joe is a man of dignity and commitment. He survived Robben Island. He is a father to us. He brings a humanistic face to the party," she said.

Zille, like her predecessor Tony Leon, said perceptions that the DA was a white party were unfounded.

"You do not have to be black to care about black people. We have to convince people who still vote along racial lines that they are not taking the country forward," she said.

However, she admitted that racism still existed, but blamed the ANC for "its obsession" with racism to further its political goals.

She challenged DA members to learn to speak other languages to help build bridges.

She told delegates that as DA leader she would not "suck up" to the ANC.

"My job is not to suck up to or to be acceptable to the ANC. We will continue to stand up to the government and challenge the ANC for power," she said.

Asked about her relationship with President Thabo Mbeki, she said: "The last time I met him was in Bermuda in 1989. I was pregnant and we had a long chat and he was smoking a pipe. Since then I have never met him."

Zille said she had great respect for Leon. She said when the history of the new South Africa was written, Leon would be remembered for having done a lot for the country since Nelson Mandela.


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