The Democratic Alliance (DA) has a new Chief Whip in Parliament – MP Natasha Mazzone.
DA’s parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen confirmed Mazzone’s appointment on Thursday after a caucus meeting.
She succeeds Steenhuisen, who was elected the party’s parliamentary leader last week following Mmusi Maimane’s resignation.
In a statement, Steenhuisen said Jacques Julius will remain Deputy Chief Whip. He also appointed Solly Malatsi as his parliamentary counsellor
He added, “I am confident that this talented and diverse team has what it takes to spearhead our fight for the interests of all South Africans, and in particular those left behind by the failing ANC government.”
First female DA Chief Whip
Reacting to her appointment, Mazzone told TimesLIVE that she was “deeply humbled” by Steenhuisen and DA’s faith in her.
She added, “Being an MP is the greatest honour of my life and being appointed the first female Chief Whip of the DA in Parliament is a tremendous honour. I stand on the shoulders of giants and I dare not fail them.”
Several party leaders have already congratulated Mazzone. MP Phumzile van Damme tweeted, “Congratulations Tashalicious. There is no person more well-deserving. Go in and SLAY Chief Whip!”
Luyolo Mphithi, MP and DA Youth Federal Leader, added, “Congratulations @Natasha9Mazzone well deserved. Wishing you only success Chief Whip.”
Early congress in April 2020
The DA is recovering from a tumultuous couple of weeks that saw the resignation of high-profile leaders, including former party leader Maimane and former Federal Chairperson Athol Trollip.
Its Federal Council is set to hold a meeting on 17 November to elect an interim party leader.
It has also tentatively scheduled an early congress for April 2020 to elect its new Federal Leader to lead it to the 2021 local government elections.
Steenhuisen was the first to announce his candidature for interim leader and Federal Leader on Monday this week.
Addressing the Cape Town Press Club, he said, “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.”