New DA leader must not live in the past - Leon

2015-05-10 10:48
Tony Leon giving the soon to be announced new leader some sage advice. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Tony Leon giving the soon to be announced new leader some sage advice. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Port Elizabeth - Former DA leader Tony Leon on Sunday provided a few guiding words for the soon-to-be announced new leader of the party.

"He must adopt strategies and tactics to grow this movement further. He must honour the past, but he must not live in the past," Leon said at the party's federal congress in Port Elizabeth.

"He must hoist aloft [late former president] Nelson Mandela's banner of a non-racial South Africa. Your next leader must speak to the possibility of our futures. Not the sum of all our fears.

"Let us make sure that he succeeds."

He said the party, under outgoing leader Helen Zille, stood on more winning ground than when it was founded.

"Today, as the second leader makes way for the third, we can be very proud," he said.

"I once noted that the success of any leader is the success of the leader's successor."

He said he and Zille did not always agree, but belonged to a party whose first name was "Democratic".

"The Bible enjoins us to build a house of many mansions in which there is room for everyone."

He read a quote by former US president Theodore Roosevelt, on the strength of character and persistence of a ''strong man'' but not before a tongue-in-cheek comment.

"Let me just say to the Twittersphere that this was... before women had the right to vote in America".

This was in reference to the social media backlash at veteran journalist Allister Sparks who said at a tribute for Zille on Saturday that he had known several intelligent politicians "including Hendrik Verwoerd" and many other "dull and stupid" ones.

Leon was earlier introduced to the stage by Zille.                                    

She praised the work done by Leon during the Convention for a Democratic SA (Codesa) negotiations, and the work he had done in helping to draft the Constitution.

"That is not to detract from the role that others played, but let me tell you, liberal democrats won the Constitution."

Zille thanked all the people in the DA who worked behind the scenes to make sure that the congress ran smoothly.

"We take everything for granted... they are on a quest for zero defect congress," she said.

"Give them a round of applause."

Read more on:    da  |  tony leon

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