The leader of South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane, resigned Wednesday amid intensified internal strife.

“It is with great sadness that in order to continue the fight for this vision I so strongly believe in, and the country I so dearly love, I today tender my resignation as leader of the Democratic Alliance,” Maimane said.

He said he would continue in the role as DA’s parliamentary leader until the end of the year, after which the party would hold a congress to elect a new leadership.

After being elected as the first black DA leader in May 2015 and taking over from his predecessor Helen Zille, Maimane has been trying to make the white-dominated party black-oriented.

In recent months, Maimane has been under mounting pressure following revelations that his private home and a vehicle were donated by Steinhoff, a South African international retail holding company.

Calling the allegations “a smear campaign” against him, Maimane said that his family were put in great danger as pictures of their home were published in the media.

For decades, the DA has been seen as a party for minorities only. In 2016, the DA removed the ruling African National Congress (ANC) from the country’s largest cities — Johannesburg, Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Bay, dealing a heavy blow to the ANC, which has been nationally dominant since 1994.

Over the past two years, Maimane fought battles with DA’s seasoned politician Zille against her pro-colonial comments. Zille, who recently was elected the DA Federal Council chairperson, is expected to succeed Maimane.


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