If DA Makashule Ghana has announced his resignation from the party in early August, chairman of the federal council Helen Seele was not impressed by the media’s insistence on highlighting the fact that Ghana’s departure was the latest in a series of departures of black DA leaders.

Calling Gan’s resignation “normal”, Zille posted on Facebook a list of black DA public figures remaining in the party. MP Patricia Kopane was among them.

In just ten days, the Zille list will need to be updated. On Monday, Kopane announced her resignation as an MP and DA member.

Kopane has been a DA stalwart for nearly two decades, joining the party in 2003 and rising to the position of Free State provincial leader, a position she declined to seek re-election in 2020. father James Letuka is a member of the Free State Provincial Legislative Assembly.

In her resignation statement, Kopane made no mention of any racial issues within the party and stressed that she had no “ill will towards the DA” and “a lot of good people who remain in the party”.

But Kopane also wrote: “The truth is that I no longer believe that the DA is the political vehicle that I joined in 2003. I don’t feel that I belong to the DA or that I have a place to make a political contribution to my country.”

​​​​​​​As much as it annoys Zille, it would be remiss not to note that Capane’s resignation was part of Sunday world recently named “Blaxit“.

The list of prominent black leaders the DA has lost in recent years, in addition to Kapane and Gana, includes former Midwaal mayor Bongani Baloyi, KZN DA star Mbali Ntuli, former Gauteng leader John Moody, former MP Phumzile van Dam, former Johannesburg leader Funzi Ngobeni and former Tshwane leader Abel Tau.

Following Gana’s resignation, Zille wrote that outgoing black DA representatives “become overnight celebrities and are retrospectively elevated to ‘senior leadership’ positions in the party (which is rare)”.

However, from the above list, it is hard to argue that the numbers the prosecution is losing are unknowns being overhyped by the media to create drama where there is none. These are heads of regional parties, members of higher party structures, heads of the metro, prominent deputies, candidates for mayor…

And there are several other party figures in equally important positions Daily Maverick understands that desertion is also currently being discussed.

But there is one sense in which Zille has a point about the media’s double standards. Less attention has been given to white figures who have left the party in recent years, such as Gauteng provincial director Michael Beaumont, former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip and DA leader John Steenhuizen’s chief of staff Graham Charters.

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What’s interesting about all these departures, regardless of the race of those involved, is that DA defectors tend to head in one of three directions.

The first is ActionSA, a political party founded by another black defector: Herman Mashaba.

Evidence of internal turmoil at ActionSA after 2021 local government elections – including ousting Mahosi Khoza and cleaning other representatives — apparently did not diminish the feeling among some former DA leaders that Mashaba’s party could offer a promising political future. Nor, apparently, have the accusations of xenophobia that have dogged ActionSA since its inception.

It is ActionSA that is chaired by Patricia Copane, and on Monday, Copane called Mashaba’s outfit “an exciting new party”.

There she will find former colleagues Trollip, Beaumont, Baloyi, Ngobeni, Tau, Moody and probably many others.

It is now clear that ActionSA is somewhat of a political home advantage for former DA representatives.

But there are two other interesting potential directions. One is the United South Africa movement, former DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s platform to help independent candidates in elections. (That’s where the Charters went, to name just one).

The second, around which noise is growing, is the former Business Daily editor Songeza Zibi’s Rivona Circle, which is actively working to build a grassroots network of activists that will likely grow into an official political party. Both Gana and Ntuli have expressed enthusiasm for the project, which seeks to harness the talent of the black professional class in South Africa.

While the prosecution may not relish the scrutiny and criticism that the party tends to receive after each new departure, these departures can also be seen as part of the maturation of South African opposition politics in a way that is healthy. for the country. big

After all, the DA has really come of age when it has splinter parties – just as the ANC has Cope and the EFF – winning significant numbers in national elections.

But on the less positive side for the DA, in particular, its black leaders now have real options in the Liberal opposition for alternative places to take their political skills, intelligence and energy when it is felt that these qualities are not sufficiently recognized by the DA. Whatever Zilla says should be a wake-up call for the party. DM

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