Newly-elected Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader, John Steenhuisen, has thrown his hat in the ring for the position of the party interim leader.
He has announced his intention to contest for the position in November and will also contest for party leader at its Congress in April 2020.
Steenhuisen did not mince his words while addressing the Cape Town Press Club about his ambition to lead the party.
“I can announce today that I’ve decided to avail myself for the position of the DA interim leader and ultimately the federal leader at our congress in April 2020.”
Steenhuisen has acknowledged that the resignations of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and party leader Mmusi Maimane had dealt the party a major blow.
However, he disagrees that this means the death of the DA. He says this is a rare chance to regroup and relook at the party’s past failures.
“I, sincerely, hope that the party will do is to turn back on the slavish race based obsession of the last few years because it has led the party into a situation where we actually lost votes, across all communities, white and black turned away from the DA. ”
Asked about the newly-elected Federal Executive Chairperson, Helen Zille, he said, in jest, there would be no problem as long as she remained in “own her lane” – a light-hearted reference to Zille’s own words after her election to the position.
“She’s committed to stay in her lane, but other people have different views. I look forward to pointing out the yellow lines from time to time to ensure that that is indeed the case. At the moment, our priority is stop political hara-kiri that’s going on in the DA, tearing each other apart in public glare and putting out on trails everyday.”
Steenhuisen made it clear that he wants to return the party back to its core values and principles based on the ideology of liberalism without forgetting about South African context of poverty and unemployment.
He says the party should not shy away from being proactive rather than being knee-jerk in its reactions on policy matters.