Nosimo Balindlela joins DA - Helen Zille

DA leader says COPE MP and former ANC ECape Premier a person of integrity

Nosimo Balindlela joins the Democratic Alliance

Today, on behalf of the DA, I am delighted to welcome Nosimo Balindlela into our ranks. Mrs Balindlela is former Premier of the Eastern Cape (2004 to 2008), a former member of the ANC NEC and was, until this morning, a sitting member of Parliament for the Congress of the People (COPE).

A teacher by profession, Nosimo first got involved in the struggle against apartheid on the campus of the University of Fort Hare. She was a prominent UDF activist in the 1980s, and in 1994 was elected to the Eastern Cape Legislature where she was appointed MEC for Education, Sports and Culture. She served on the provincial executive committee of the ANC from 1996 to 2008, the provincial working committee from 2004 to 2008, and was the provincial chairperson of the ANC Women's League from 1996 to 2001.

This morning Mrs Balindlela resigned her COPE membership and her seat in the National Assembly. In a moment she will sign a DA membership form and receive her membership card from DA Eastern Cape Provincial Leader Athol Trollip.

The DA is working hard to build a new non-racial majority at the centre of South African politics that all voters can trust with their votes and with the future of the country. We have said that this new majority should be based on shared values.

I have known Nosimo for many years as a person of integrity. In our interactions, it was clear to me that she is someone with the core values that will take this country forward - a respect for the constitution, a commitment to non-racialism, the need to redress the legacy of apartheid, and a desire to build a society based on opportunity for all.

There are many, many South Africans like her who are frustrated by the divisions of the present. 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 Mrs 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.

Today is another step in the realignment of politics in South Africa. Good people from across the spectrum are starting to converge around a vision and a plan for our country. The DA invites others like Mrs Balindlela, who may be inspired by her courage and vision today, to join us in building a new majority.

Nosimo Zisiwe Beauty Balindlela

·         Born 28 November 1949, married to Miniyakhe, and they have two sons, Tumi and Zola, and one daughter, Mandisa

  • Premier of the Eastern Cape from 26 April 2004 until 25 July 2008
  • Member of the ANC NEC 2002-2007
  • Member of Parliament, COPE, 2009 - present

Nosimo Balindlela had a career in education, graduating with a Diploma in Secondary Education from Lovedale Teacher's College. She taught at various schools, and also lectured at the University of Fort Hare, Lovedale Teachers College, and the University of the Transkei.

She holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbia University, New York. She has also received an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Rhodes University and an Honorary Doctorate in Education from the University of Fort Hare.

During the 1980s she was an activist in the UDF, and at the University of Fort Hare. In 1994 she became an MPL in the Eastern Cape provincial legislature and was appointed as the MEC for Education, Sports and Culture until 1998.

She was reappointed as MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture from 1999 until 2004. After the 2004 election the ANC appointed her as Premier of the Eastern Cape.

Balindlela served as a PEC member of the ANC Eastern Cape from 1996 to 2008, as Provincial Chairperson of the ANC Woman's League Eastern Cape from 1996 to 2001, as a member of the ANC Provincial Working Committee from 2004 to 2008, as an ex officio member of the ANC National Executive Committee from 2004 to 2007.

Balindlela resigned from the ANC on 4 November 2008 of that year to join the Congress of the People.

Statement issued by DA leader, Helen Zille, November 13 2012

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