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Steenhuisen vows to 'bring DA back to life,' says it’s not a ‘white party’

The post became vacant after Mmusi Maimane resigned in the wake of Helen Zille being elected Federal Council chair last month.

(From left) The DA's federal council chairperson Helen Zille, interim leader John Steenhuisen, interim federal chairperson Ivan Meyer and national spokesperson Solly Malatsi pictured on 17 November 2019. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Newly elected Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen said his focus would be to grow the party following a dismal performance in the elections.

The post became vacant after Mmusi Maimane resigned in the wake of Helen Zille being elected Federal Council chair last month.

Steenhuisen beat Makashule Gana with at least 75% of the Federal Council vote to ascend to the top position.

*MAKASHULE GANA: DA only party that can realise hopes of all S. Africans

Steenhuisen said it was time to resuscitate the DA.

“There is going to be a difficulty. I have no doubt. It’s not an easy task. It’s very easy to be a racial nationalist in this country. You just find a group of people who don’t look or talk like you and you drive a message of hate and division among them.”

He denied that the DA is a “white party”. The new leader said he was humbled by the party’s decision to elect him and shared his vision for the party.

“I have no doubt that a clear message must go out today that the DA is not going to fight over ideology or power. We are going to fight against the tide of poverty that has engulfed the lives of so many women, men and children. It remains the single biggest problem in our country.”

Meanwhile, Ivan Meyer has also been named the new interim federal chair after Athol Trollip resigned along with Maimane.

Meyer was competing with another member of the Gauteng legislature Khume Ramulifho and Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo for the post.

“Today, we have a new pilot in John Steenhuisen. We are taking off. The ANC is grounded. The next step is to land safely at the Democratic Alliance conference in April next year.”

The party will hold an elective congress for its new leadership next year.

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