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Race-based policies won’t lift South Africans out of poverty - Steenhuisen

John Steenhuisen has replaced former leader Mmusi Maimane after being voted in by the federal council at the weekend.

FILE: Democratic Alliance's interim party leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen said race-based policies had failed and his party would do things differently, to “make good of what was done wrong in the past”.

Steenhuisen has replaced former leader Mmusi Maimane after being voted in by the federal council at the weekend.

Maimane quit his position and the party last month. In September, Maimane told Eyewitness News that he felt the party needed to attract more black voters.

Steenhuisen has denied that he plotted to topple Maimane so that he could ascend to the position.

The new interim leader said that things needed to be done differently to lift people out of poverty.

“I don’t think you address the evils and the scars of race-based policies by layering over more race-based policies.

"Let’s lift people out of poverty and into opportunities. Race-based policies have failed and even the ANC has conceded that interventions like BEE has not yielded the empowerment required.”

WATCH: Issues facing the DA are enormous - Zille

At the same time, Steenhuisen said that he did not backstab former leader Maimane.

He said that he respected the former leader and had faith in him until the very end.

"I never backstabbed Mr Maimane. I served as his chief whip, I served as him loyally and I served him well right up until the end. It was not possible to tell him that I was standing for the interim leader because he had resigned as the leader and resigned as a member of the party prior to this position even becoming available."

Steenhuisen said there was no denying that under Maimane's leadership the party had setbacks.

"The review shows that there were some errors that we didn't do so well under his leadership and we need to address those going forward."

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