The politics of musical chairs is gaining momentum after the DA lost another black leader ahead of the 2024 general elections expected to take place before June.
Gauteng leader of the blue party Khume Ramulifho has dumped the DA, crossing the floor to former journalist Songezo Zibi’s Rise Mzansi.
Ramulifho, who joined the DA when it was still called the Democratic Party in 1998, was one of the members, like the expelled Tsepo Mhlongo who defected to ActionSA late in 2023, to have exited the Cape Town-based official opposition.
In his letter of resignation, which we have seen, Ramulifho states that his decision to ditch the DA was not easy.
Based on his resignation letter, it looks like he left the DA under a cloud as he speaks about unity, something many black leaders who left the organisation claim it is lacking.
Exodus of black leaders
Black DA leaders have over the years left in droves claiming they were not happy with how white leadership is handling the affairs of the organisation.
“There are many South Africans who want to see unity in purpose, and I strongly believe that Rise Mzansi is able to unite South African [sic] behind building the South Africa we all deserve,” said Ramulifho in his letter.
He will be joining his long-time friend and former DA councillor and MP Makashule Gana, who also defected to Rise Mzansi.
Insiders within the DA claim that Ramulifho, who was previously a national leader of the DA Youth between 2008 and 2010 before he became an MPL responsible for education in Gauteng, left the party after being frustrated by his attempts to ascend to the provincial leadership position.
“Khume wanted to be the leader of the DA in Gauteng so badly, but his attempts to be elected as a leader were thwarted by members who chose Solly Msimanga over him,” said an insider.
“You should also remember that he tried his best to run to become a national deputy federal chairperson in 2010, but he failed to convince delegates to vote for him.”
Another insider said Ramulifho’s other attempt was in 2018 when he wanted to be the deputy chairperson of the federal council and interim federal chairperson, a position that was left vacant by Athol Trollip, who joined ActionSA, but he lost to Ivan Meyer.
Ramulfho said he left the DA after being frustrated by how the affairs of the party were being run.
Party not inclusive
“My priority with the people I was working with was aimed at building structures for the DA, where the party never had the base,” he said.
“However, we were told that the party had priority areas to focus on, and that excluded areas like Soweto, Lenasia and Eldorado Park.
“I felt that I didn’t want to be part of the party that was not inclusive, as I wanted to help the party grow in areas where it also matters, not in selective areas.
“My role was reduced to managing activists who were just there to attend rallies, and I felt that I couldn’t stand that.”
He said he could not associate himself with the party that was not adding value to others, while it is only focusing on particular areas that are not predominantly black.
“I was frustrated with the approach, hence I decided to go to the party where I know that I will add value in the growth of Rise Mzansi, which I have joined.”