BBC article focuses on ‘sharp’, ‘visionary’ Maimane

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. FILE PHOTO: ANA

The article describes the DA leader as ‘the man who vows to end ANC rule’, but notes that his party is polling at a ‘distant second place’.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has profiled Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane in an article describing him in its headline as “the man who vows to end ANC rule”.

The article, by BBC international correspondent Andrew Harding, describes Maimane as a “slim 38-year old former choirboy with an easy charisma, a pastor’s resonant voice, and a reputation for unwavering politeness”.

Harding describes the ANC as a party with a “relentless grip on power”, but “that after 25 years in power appears to many to have lost its way, presiding over a decade of economic stagnation and the soaring corruption known here as ‘state capture’.”

He describes the DA as “well-placed to win South Africa’s upcoming elections” only “in theory”, noting that in reality, polling shows that the DA “remains in distant second place”.

READ MORE: The Economist endorses Ramaphosa as ‘SA’s best bet’

“Racial nationalism” is Maimane’s reason for this, claiming that a global trend towards populism and identity politics is behind the ANC’s continued popularity.

The article quotes Nelson Mandela, who once described the DA as a party of “white bosses and black stooges”, stating that the party “has been wrestling ever since to shake off that image”.

It also describes Maimane as a “black politician dogged by allegations that he was ‘parachuted’ undeservedly into the top job in 2015 because of his race rather than his abilities“.

A childhood friend of the DA leader, Thabo Shole-Mashao, describes him as “extremely sharp, detailed… a visionary” in the article, which can be read here.

This follows The Economist – another influential international publication based in the UK – profiling President Cyril Ramaphosa in an article endorses him as “South Africa’s best bet”.

The Economist, who placed Ramaphosa on the cover of their April 27 edition, described him as the man best positioned to continue with the legacy of Nelson Mandela and grow the “rainbow nation” according to its full potential, putting the nine “wasted Zuma years” behind it.

This sees the publication changing tack from South Africa’s last elections when the magazine calculated that the best vote for an Economist reader would be the DA.

(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting, Charles Cilliers)

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