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Steenhuisen elected DA’s new leader

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The DA has announced John Steenhuisen as its new leader as it concludes its two-day virtual federal congress.

John Steenhuisen. File picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

THE DA has announced John Steenhuisen as its new leader on Sunday afternoon as it concludes its two-day virtual federal congress.

Steenhuisen, the party’s interim leader who was viewed as the front-runner in the race for the top position, had been up against Mbali Ntuli, who has been viewed as an underdog in the race.

The results of the elections are as follows:

Federal Leader: John Steenhuisen, with 80% of votes cast.

Federal Chairperson: Dr. Ivan Meyer, elected uncontested.

Deputy Federal Chairpersons:

1st Deputy: Refiloe Nt’Sekhe,

2nd Deputy: Anton Bredell,

3rd Deputy: Jacques Smalle.

Chairperson of the Federal Council: Helen Zille, with 69% of votes cast.

Deputy Chairpersons of the Federal Council: James Masango and Thomas Walters, elected uncontested.

Chairperson of Federal Finance: Dr Dion George, elected uncontested.

“Voting for leadership candidates took place using the online OpaVote platform and this system worked well,” DA Federal Congress Presiding Officers Greg Krumbock MP, and Desiree van der Walt MP said in a statement.

“The election results were compliant with all DA election requirements and rules. They were signed off by us, as presiding officers, as well as the candidates’ party agents and also a professional audit firm who acted as independent external auditors and who oversaw the voting process.

“All individuals who observed voting consider the elections free and fair.”

Delivering the opening address of the second day of the congress, Steenhuisen hailed the DA for standing firm on its resolution to exclude race from its economic policies as well as in its values and principles despite the criticism it had earned for doing so.

He accused the ANC and sections of the media “who cannot escape the toxic spell of the ruling party” of wrongly painting the DA’s move as step backwards.

“A non-racial SA is the only SA worth fighting for and it is the only way we will free people from the shackles of the past and lift them out of poverty into opportunity. Not so long ago everyone agreed on this. The ANC itself adopted non-racialism as one of its guiding values more than 30 years ago, but today they will pretend that never happened,” Steenhuisen said.

Steenhuisen used the better part of his address to congress bashing the ANC and its government failure and accused it of having retreated to racial nationalism and divisive identity politics.

“Unable to build a united country, they have retreated into the lager of race politics with all its scapegoating and all of its blame. The more they and parties like the EFF beat this drum, the bigger will be the temptation for others to follow them down this path, but this kind of populism cannot and will build a strong and unified nation,” he said.

Having suffered an electoral decline in last year’s general elections, Steenhuisen said the party was now focusing itself on next year’s local government elections.

On the second day of the elective congress, delegates spent much of the morning voting on resolutions, including on outlawing cadre deployment and the deregulation of the labour market and collective bargaining to create jobs, among many others.

Steenhuisen is set to address the congress before it closes in the afternoon.