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DA names parliamentary leaders as it aims to tackle ANC head-on

30 May 2019 - 15:18 By THABO MOKONE
The Democratic Alliance on Thursday announced its new parliamentary leaders.
The Democratic Alliance on Thursday announced its new parliamentary leaders.
Image: Gallo Images

DA MP Jacques Julius has been elected the party's deputy chief whip in the National Assembly after defeating Mike Waters in a caucus election on Thursday.

Waters wanted a second term in that position after serving as John Steenhuisen's deputy between 2014 and 2019, but the DA MPs preferred otherwise.

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Another DA MP, Annelie Lotriet, is the new chairperson of the party's parliamentary caucus, after she was elected ahead of Alf Lees, a fellow MP from KwaZulu-Natal. The position was previously occupied by veteran MP Anchen Dreyer, who did not contest this year's DA caucus elections.

Lotriet will be deputised by another DA MP from KwaZulu-Natal, Haniff Hoosen, who won the position after beating another long-serving MP from Limpopo, Desiree van der Walt.

Other prominent DA MPs, such as Natasha Mazonne, Phumzile van Damme, national spokesperson Solly Malatsi, DA Free State leader Patricia Kopane and Geordin Hill-Lewis, have also been elected to serve in the party's whippery.

The whippery, among other duties, helps the chief whip and his deputy in ensuring that party MPs fulfil their duties and toe the party line.

Cathy Labuschagne will lead DA MPs serving in the National Council of Provinces.

Steenhuisen, in statement, said the party had elected a competent caucus leadership team to tackle the ANC's sixth administration.

"It will be this fine leadership team that will actively engage with parliament's office-bearers, led by speaker Thandi Modise, to ensure that the legislative arm of the state is indeed a place that works for the people," said Steenhuisen.

"The reality is that South Africa is in trouble. Our economy has stagnated and policy uncertainty means that parliament must focus on passing legislation that benefits the country and that we vigorously debate the real issues facing South Africans.

"The floors of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, and the chambers of committee rooms, should not be used to exchange insults, they must be used to build a better South Africa for all.

"The DA in parliament is ready to hit the ground running. In the coming days, the DA leader [Mmusi Maimane] will appoint a shadow cabinet. We will also table the 'jobs bill', push for the establishment of a standing committee on the presidency, establish a 'caucus of the opposition' and seek regular engagement with leaders of government business.

"The DA takes its role as official opposition seriously. We will not only fight for the interests of those who voted for us, but we will continue to work to build one South Africa for all," he said.