LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Season 2: The John and Helen show

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Newly elected DA leader John Steenhuisen at the launch of his campaign in February.
Newly elected DA leader John Steenhuisen at the launch of his campaign in February.
Jan Gerber

David Gant has written to News24 asking if voters have the appetite for Season 2 of the John and Helen show following the election of John Steenhuisen as the DA's new leader on Sunday and Helen Zille retaining her position as chairperson of the federal council. 

On the face of it, the DA Congress was a masterful production which exhibited democracy in action, meticulous planning and efficient execution. South Africans should be left in no doubt about the capability and competence of this party, the quality and ability of its new leader and its commitment to the right kind of values and policies required to restore honour, dignity, harmony and relative prosperity to our battered multi-racial nation.

What is not quite so certain is the extent to which the electorate at large have the appetite for Season 2 of the John and Helen show and the impact that the symbolism of this continued historical white top leadership structure will have on the party's attempt to grow a support base across a much larger and broader section of the South African population.

The main reason offered by those opposing the establishment of a deputy federal leader, as proposed by leadership candidate Mbali Ntuli, namely the possibility of internal factionalism, simply does not wash. Whether it could be Ntuli or someone else elected to the position in future, the fact is that having leaders that represent differing factions in the party's top echelon actually dilutes the promotion of factionalism because the factions know that, win or lose, they have a voice and influential representation where it counts. When those factions are muzzled or contemptuously rejected, it simply adds fuel to the fire.

The DA was originally founded in a spirit of partnership between different groups with different loyalties and aspirations, but for the greater good it created a leadership structure that engendered unified support from across divergent traditional and historical bases.

The inclusion of Mbali Ntuli, with her background, youthful energy, talent, commitment and courage in the effective leadership structures of the DA, would have ensured a massive contribution towards the electoral thrust of and support for the DA in the months and years ahead. It might even have led to a game changing scenario in South Africa's political circumstances.

- David Gant, Kenilworth

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