Opportunity for a new DA

DA leader Tony Leon's decision to step down in six months must be commended.

DA leader Tony Leon's decision to step down in six months must be commended.

As Leon has pointed out, having one person as a leader for too long is not good for the health of a party.

His departure is an opportunity for the DA to reinvent itself as a party that caters for the interests of the South African majority.

Though under his 12 years of leadership the DA has made inroads among black voters, Leon's abrasive "in-your-face" style of opposition politics has antagonised many. It reinforced the DA's image as a largely white party concerned with protecting the interests of the privileged minority.

The DA needs a leader to whom black voters can relate, someone who can tackle the ruling ANC on its short-comings with credibility and without alienating blacks.

Leon's 2004 "fight back" election campaign repelled many black voters.

With this in mind, the name of Hellen Zille, the Cape Town mayor, has come up as a successor to Leon.

Zille has shown that she has the chutzpah to take on the ANC in Western Cape and has proved to be a skilled politician with the interests of the majority at heart.

The compromise she reached with the ANC in the executive mayor debacle is an indication that she believes political stability and service delivery should be every politician's uppermost concern.

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