Bonginkosi Madikizela: I support Steenhuisen for party leader

05 March 2020 - 08:01 By Andisiwe Makinana
The DA's Bonginkosi Madikizela.
The DA's Bonginkosi Madikizela.

DA leader in the Western Cape Bonginkosi Madikizela has thrown his weight behind interim party leader John Steenhuisen to take the role on a permanent basis at its elective congress in May.

“Since taking over as interim leader of the DA, John has worked tirelessly to stabilise the party and get us focused on the right path,” said Madikizela in a communique to party structures in the province.

He continued singing Steenhuisen's praises, saying: “John possesses many qualities we need to take us forward as a leader. He has served this party in various capacities for more than 20 years, has shown resilience and defied the odds after facing many challenges.

“He’s been consistent since taking over as interim leader, reiterating our party’s position on key policy areas, values and principles.

“I’m satisfied with his responses to all the questions I’ve put to him during our interactions. I think he must be given a chance to continue in this role and I will be giving him my full support in the run-up to the elective congress in May,” he said.

Madikizela added that Steenhuisen was the only person who called him and communicated with him consistently, asking for support. “That makes me feel valued as a leader and a voter at the upcoming elective congress,” he said.

Madikizela said the DA needed stability and to get back on track after the setback it suffered in the 2019 elections, when the party lost votes for the first time since 1994. This, he said, had to be done by having a coherent message about who it is and what it stands for.

“We need to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them. One of those mistakes was to try to be everything to everyone to appease everyone. That doesn’t work in politics and in general. We need to stick to our principles and values.”

Madikizela said having studied and listened to all the manifestos of the candidates standing for the leadership position, and with the advantage of knowing them all well, he did not only listen to what they were promising but whether they were capable of delivering on their manifestos.

He listed qualities he needed in a leader who could take the DA forward. These were clear vision for the party, loyalty, honesty, integrity, empathy, political maturity, emotional intelligence, tolerance, humility and consistency.

Steenhuisen, Mbali Ntuli and John Moodey will contest the position.

Madikizela was initially expected to stand, but announced last month that he would instead focus on getting a second term as provincial leader.