Friday, October 25, 2019

Johannesburg mayor, Mashaba resigns in race row

The mayor of South Africa’s biggest city Johannesburg has resigned, saying he was stepping down from the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) over the party’s approach to racial inequality.

When Herman Mashaba was elected in 2016, he became the city’s first mayor not from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) since apartheid ended in 1994.

The 60-year-old millionaire, who made his fortune in black hair products, was one of the most senior politicians in the pro-business DA, long considered a party for middle-class white people.

But on Monday he quit the DA, which means he can no longer serve as mayor.

“I cannot reconcile myself with a group of people who believe that race is irrelevant in the discussion of inequality and poverty in South Africa,” Mashaba told a press conference in Johannesburg.

He said his decision was sparked by the election of former DA leader Helen Zille as the party’s federal council chairperson at the weekend.