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DA needs to urgently discuss its identity at policy conference, says analyst

John Steenhuisen took over from Mmusi Maimane who was brought to the DA with the aim of helping attract more black voters. But, what does the appointment of Steenhuisen mean for that project?

Democratic Alliance interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: @jsteenhuisen/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - As the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) new interim leader prepares to take over, there are questions on what the election of John Steenhuisen would translate into in terms of electoral support.

Steenhuisen replaced Mmusi Maimane who resigned from the party last month after citing race issues. While Ivan Meyer was appointed as federal chair and replaced Athol Trollip.

The two were expected to lead the DA until its early congress scheduled for April next year.

Steenhuisen took over from Maimane who was brought to the DA with the aim of helping attract more black voters.

But, what does the appointment of Steenhuisen mean for that project?

The interim DA leader compared the country to an ill patient, saying the colour of the doctor was becoming less important.

Political analyst Dr Ralph Mathekga said he disagreed with Steenhuisen’s view.

“I really do think his analogy of the colour of the doctor is very much misplaced, I do think that you need a leader whose sensitives to the question of the race. The mere fact that Mr Steenhuisen is going to replace someone who was black in the DA is actually a fact. Some members of the DA will be quite unsettled [by this],” he said.

Mathekga said the DA needed to go to a policy conference and discuss what its identity was, and what it would be selling to South Africans at the upcoming local government elections.

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