CAPE TOWN — The defection of former Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela from the Congress of the People (COPE) to the Democratic Alliance (DA) was another step in the realignment of politics in South Africa, DA leader Helen Zille said on Tuesday at a media briefing to announce the party’s new member.
Ms Balindlela resigned her COPE membership and her seat in the National Assembly on Tuesday morning.
Ms Zille said there were many South Africans like Ms Balindlela who were frustrated by the divisions of the current political set-up in the country. She said the DA was working hard to build a new nonracial majority at the centre of South African politics which should be based on shared values.
"Many of us understand that our future lies in transcending these obsolete political formations. But it takes a courageous person to be among the first to show the way to others.
"The DA is glad that Ms Balindlela has joined our effort to remake South African politics and build a shared future. In the coming years we hope to bring together many more patriots who like us want to build a stable future based on shared values."
Ms Balindlela said she was very happy to have taken the decision, which was not a difficult one to make as all politicians looked for exemplary leaders, many of whom could be found in the DA — most notably Ms Zille, whom she had known since the days of the United Democratic Front. She said there were many people who were fearful to take the step she had taken but she was convinced the DA was the future.
The ANC’s famous leaders of the past, such as Oliver Tambo, wanted to rid the country of racism and it was very sad that it was so prevalent in South Africa, Ms Balindlela said.
"I am passionate about doing away with racism, I am very passionate to fight poverty," she said.
Ms Balindlela said she had the highest regard for COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota but she had had to decide for the future. The future was with the DA.