October 28, 2011

Lindiwe Mazibuko new DA leader in Parliament

Democratic Alliance has elected a new DA leader in Parliament. 31-year-old Lindiwe Mazibuko won the DA parliamentary caucus against incumbent Athol Trollip. Mazibuko said it was hard to describe how she felt about the historic choice of the first black DA leader of Parliament, but she admitted it had been a "hard-fought and rigorous election".

Describing the atmosphere in the caucus room as "jovial", she said there was a commitment to "taking the party forward". "They had been counting so long that by the time counting officers came back we were all having tea and hugging each other." Mazibuko delivered a speech to the caucus shortly before her victory, which offered a glimpse into the DA's future strategies. Growth for the party, she said, would come from urban voters, who have seen the DA's level of delivery in government, as well as from rural voters disillusioned with the ANC Most importantly, the party would grow from votes from among the "three million young South Africans who will vote for the first time in 2014".

Caucus members say Zille openly lobbied for her, and was grooming her for the top post.
"I am overwhelmed, but excited. It is wonderful that my colleagues had faith in me, and have confidence that I can lead this caucus," said Mazibuko. "But I have two articulate men of stature, Watty Watson [DA chief whip in Parliament], and [caucus chairperson] Wilmot James, and I will lead the caucus in tandem with them, as a team," said Mazibuko. "It is an historical moment," said Zille. "But I must pay tribute to Lindiwe and her team for never saying: 'Vote for me because I am black.' She said: 'Vote for me because of my vision for the party.'" According to Zille, there would be no purging of members or bitterness following the tough campaign. (Mail & Guardian)

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