DA slams suggestions of a racial split

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has slammed suggestions that the party finds itself in the midst to racial separation that could split the party into two.

The party is this weekend holding its Federal Congress which will among other items elect new leaders.

Going into the congress DA leader Mmusi Maimane together with James Selfe will be re-elected uncontested for positions of Federal leader as well as Federal Council Chairperson respectively.

However much of the attention has been on the “Battle of Mayors” for the coveted position of Federal Chairperson.

This has seen Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimang as well as Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip go head-to-head, not forgetting that there is Annelie Lotriet, who is also running of the same position.

Not shying away from diversity and representation issues within the party, the DA will at the congress look to find ways to ensure a fair parity. And part of this is the election of leaders.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the congress, Federal Chair Athol Trollip emphasized that the party is one for all South African’s – regardless of race, religion and ethnicity.

“Our political opponents, some say we are a white party with white interests, we are a party for all South Africans….. We are the most diverse party, with diverse leadership. We’ve got values and principles that have surfaced well,” says Trollip.

Speaking on the “Battle of the Mayors” – both Trollip and Msimang slammed reports that their quests to become leaders of the party has become a racial issue.  Msimang pleaded that his campaign towards Federal chairperson should be judged on his track record as well as what he has to offer – rather than the colour of his skin.

“I’ve also said and I continue to say, that if someone is voting for me because I’m a black person, that would be an insult. Or of someone is voting for Athol because he is a white person – that is also an insult.”

Msimang says using that same notion to justify him being a candidate is tantamount to not valuing what he would bring to the party.


Downplaying the racial suggestions, incumbent Federal Chairperson Athol Trollip referred to the DA’s 4th Federal Congress, citing that it was at the Port Elizabeth Congress when he overcame Makashule Gana as well as Masizole Mnqasela for the post of federal chairperson.

“When I contested against Gana and Masizole Mnqasela some said it was regressive.”

Adding that the DA remains a non-racial party for all South Africans, Trollip maintains that whatever steps are taken to address the race issue – it always seems to find its way back.

“How do you want us to please you about this race issue? If there were two white people competing for this position, you would have said racist. Now there are two white people against a black person, Racist?” questioned Trollip.