FRIDAY BRIEFING | Steenhuisen vs Phalatse: The battle is on to steer the DA towards 2024

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
friday briefing

Steenhuisen vs Phalatse: The battle is on to steer the DA towards 2024

Soon after taking up the reins as DA mayor of Johannesburg in 2022, Mpho Phalatse spoke to one of my colleagues about her ambitions after she was asked whether she would consider being a contender for leader of the DA. 

At the time, she said: "I do think that the DA could benefit from having someone like me in a leadership role. And I also think I have really grown a lot. And I think I would have a lot to offer."

In a few days, Phalatse will hear whether 2 000 delegates attending the DA Federal Congress in Johannesburg are willing to give her that chance to prove herself. 

She is up against John Steenhuisen, who has been at the helm of the party since 2019, when he took over for an interim period after Mmusi Maimane resigned.

In 2020, Steenhuisen was given a three-year term as party leader when he was elected in a landslide victory against his then competitor, Mbali Ntuli. 

With a coalition government looking very likely in 2024, as ANC support drops, DA delegates this weekend have a lot to think about, including which of the two candidates will be best to steer the party for the upcoming national elections. 

In this week's Friday Briefing, News24 columnist and analyst Mpumelelo Mkhabela argues that the tragedy of the upcoming congress is that it's not going to elevate fresh leaders brimming with ideas on how to take on the ANC. 

News24's parliamentary reporter Jason Felix has a different view, writing that whoever becomes DA leader will need to consider how it will connect with South Africans, beyond using anti-ANC rhetoric. Analyst Daniel Silke reflects on the challenges facing the new leader. 

We also have submissions from both Steenhuisen and Phalatse's teams

As an added bonus, this week, we have a powerful contribution from Max du Plessis and Eshed Cohen, examining the withdrawal of the International Crime Bill, and what that means for the country now that the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. 

I hope this week's edition gives you some food for thought. 

Enjoy your weekend. 


Vanessa Banton 

Opinions editor. 

Needed: Compelling leadership from the DA

With Cyril Ramaphosa's failures clearly showing, after five years at the helm, and the ANC's bleeding having resumed, it remains to be seen whether John Steenhuisen, who is set to be re-elected DA leader, can take advantage, writes Mpumelelo Mkhabela.

DA votes: What the looming elective congress means for South Africa’s opposition

More than two decades after its formation, the DA is still fighting for its relevance. This time it is to resonate with the majority of South Africans. With the 2024 elections looming, the country’s biggest opposition party has a shot at achieving what many thought was unthinkable, writes Jason Felix. Will it be able to do it? 

Whether Steenhuisen or Phalatse get nod to be new DA leader, there are threats ahead

With a huge opportunity to capitalise on ANC failures, whoever is appointed to lead the DA for another three years has a real chance of securing the most meaningful spot ever for a liberal/centrist political movement in South Africa's recent history, writes Daniel Silke.

Like he did for the DA, John Steenhuisen could lead South Africa out of its crisis

As the Democratic Alliance prepares to hold its Federal Congress where it will decide who gets to run the party for the next three years, Jane Sithole writes that John Steenhuisen, who is hoping for a second term, is the only political leader that has taken his party to a higher level since he took over in October 2019.

Dynamic, free-thinking, unique: This is why Mpho Phalatse has my support

Jaco Engelbrecht details why he often told Dr Mpho Phalatse that he thinks she would be good for the party if she was elected as the DA's next leader. 

It has been a good week for international criminal justice. Here's why

Now that Cyril Ramaphosa's government has done the right thing by scrapping the International Crimes Bill and reinvigorating South Africa's support for the ICC, Max du Plessis and Eshed Cohen ask if SA will support the ICC's arrest warrant for Putin.

cartoon by carlos


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Do you think the wardens deployed across Gauteng will make a dent in curbing crime?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No, proper policing is needed
79% - 3365 votes
Yes, anything will help at this point
21% - 879 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.