Five key DA reshuffles and appointments from 2019

31 December 2019 - 07:35 By Cebelihle Bhengu
The return of Helen Zille to the DA's leadership shook the party to its core.
The return of Helen Zille to the DA's leadership shook the party to its core.
Image: Gallo Images

2019 has certainly been a tumultuous year for the Democratic Alliance.

Helen Zille's election as the party's federal chair in October saw a number of key figures resigning from the party: leader Mmusi Maimane, Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba and federal chair Athol Trollip. Since these resignations, the party has attempted to rebuild its leadership.

These are the five biggest appointments in the DA during 2019:

Helen Zille, federal chairperson - October 21

Zille put her name on the list of candidates gunning for one of the most powerful positions in the party, that of federal chair - and she won. In a press conference shortly after her election, she said she would not meddle in then leader Mmusi Maimane's role, as many had publicly speculated she would do.

“My job will be to ensure that everything runs smoothly. I will not be the leader. I will play the background role and I will stay in my lane," said Zille at the time.

John Steenhuisen, parliamentary leader - October 27

Just one week after Zille's return, former chief whip John Steenhuisen was elected as the party's parliamentary leader to fill the gap left by Maimane, who announced his resignation just days after Zille's appointment.

The party’s parliamentary caucus chairperson, Annelie Lotriet, said the position had only one nomination and was uncontested.

Natasha Mazzone, chief whip - October 31

Mazzone made history by becoming the DA's first female chief whip, filling a position left vacant by Steenhuisen when he became the party's parliamentary leader. 

Steenhuisen said Mazzone was the perfect candidate for the job. “In the interim we are trying to create some stability here in parliament. She helped write the rules of parliament, she is competent and knows what needs to be done and that's going to help manage a smooth transition in this period,” he said at the time.

John Steenhuisen, interim leader - November 27

Steenhuisen again came out on top as the favourite to take over from Maimane, beating Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana, who also had his sights set on the position.

Steenhuisen was elected with Western Cape agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer, who is now the party's interim federal chair. Meyer was not without competition, beating Western Cape health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo and Gauteng MPL Khume Ramulefho.

Gwen Ngwenya, head of policy - November 23

After resigning from the position in January, Gwen Ngwenya was reinstated as the party's head of policy.

Solly Malatsi, the DA's national spokesperson, confirmed the appointment “Ngwenya brings with her enormous experience and talent as it pertains to policy,” he said in a statement.

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