IN QUOTES | Diversity, resignations and shortcuts: John Steenhuisen on the DA

29 October 2019 - 09:45 By Cebelihle Bhengu
John Steenhuisen was recently elected DA parliamentary leader.
John Steenhuisen was recently elected DA parliamentary leader.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

Newly elected DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen shared his vision for the party at the Cape Town Press Club on Monday. His appointment followed the resignation of Mmusi Maimane as DA leader. Steenhuisen served as the party's chief whip.

Here are five quotes from his speech. 

The DA is diverse 

“The perception of the DA is not born out of reality, because if you look at the DA, eight of the nine provincial leaders happen to be black South Africans. The two national spokespersons are black South Africans, the leader up until 72 hours ago was a black South African. If you look at the parliamentary caucus, [it's] by far the most diverse party represented in any of these legislatures.”

Recent resignations a blow

“The events of the last few weeks have been tumultuous for our party and I'm not going to insult your intelligence by convincing you otherwise. The departure of a leader, chairperson and metro mayor, and the manner of their leaving, dealt a blow to our cause.”

The DA is the alternative

“Our country needs such a strong opposition, and that can only be the DA. But while we will do this job with the utmost dedication, the DA is more than just an opposition party. We are also a national government in waiting.”

We need to reflect

“Our task in the weeks, years before us is clear. We need to find our spine again. We need to re-anchor ourselves to our core values. We must constantly evangelise nonracialism, while maintaining our commitment to redress and reconciliation.” 

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No shortcuts

“The problem with SA is that it wants a shortcut, always, but there are no shortcuts in life, really. Ultimately, we have to take the hard yards of fixing our education system, freeing up our labour market and get people working, and shifting public money from consumption spending on a huge public sector to invest on the things our economy needs to grow.”