Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen has confirmed that he will run for the positions of DA interim leader and federal leader.
Steenhuisen made the announcement while addressing the Cape Town Press Club on Monday.
He said, “I want to announce that I have availed myself for the position of DA interim leader and ultimately the federal leader in our congress in 2020.”
‘Chart new way forward’
Steenhuisen added, “With the collective undying spirit of our immensely hardworking representatives across the country and unwavering support of our army of activists, I want to chart a new way forward for the Democratic Alliance.
“No matter how hard and trying things may seem at the moment, I believe in the end, that I draw my strength and my inspiration from the incredible people of this wonderful organisation, the Democratic Alliance. The project is bigger than individuals.”
His announcement comes just days after he was appointed the party’s parliamentary leader uncontested.
It also comes less than a week after the dramatic resignation of former federal leader Mmusi Maimane.
The DA Federal Council will elect the party’s interim leader on 17 November. DA will also hold an early congress, tentatively scheduled for April 2020, where the next federal leader will be elected.
DA’s crisis ‘exeggerated’
In his address, Steenhuisen said although Maimane and other party leaders’ resignations had rocked the party, the crisis has been exaggerated by some analysts.
He said, “The departure of the party leader, federal chairperson and a mayor of a Metro dealt a significant blow to our course.
“[But] I would suggest to you that the reports of the death of the Democratic Alliance are indeed greatly exaggerated.”
Steenhuisen went on to highlight the positives that the DA still enjoys despite its leadership crisis.
“[The DA], despite its recent setbacks in the past few weeks, is still, as we sit here today, the second-largest party in South Africa, the official opposition in Parliament, and is the party of government in the Western Cape, in Tshwane and Johannesburg,” he explained.
Steenhuisen is the first leader to confirm running for the party’s top position. The winner at the 2020 congress will lead it to the 2021 local government elections.