The DA announced its team of spokespersons – or its "shadow cabinet", as the party likes to call it – on Wednesday, with marching orders from party leader Mmusi Maimane to hold the executive to account at every turn.
"The people of South Africa re-elected the DA as the country's official opposition in this 6th Parliament, and we do not take this privilege and responsibility for granted," Maimane said.
"We will work each and every day to ensure that this Parliament works for the people."
Maimane has given his "shadow cabinet" three tasks, which are to hold the national executive to account, oppose "damaging legislation", and propose credible alternatives before Parliament.
Maimane said their focus would be an "agenda for reform".
This would include tabling a "Jobs Bill and Cheaper Energy Bill"; opposing any changes to the Reserve Bank independence and mandate; proposing alternatives to the current State Owned Entity (SOE) ownership framework and the current Mining Charter; and opposing the National Health Insurance scheme and land expropriation without compensation, which it deems "threats to the fiscus".
The DA's spokespersons are (with their deputies in brackets):
- Presidency: Solly Malatsi (Ghaleb Cachalia)
- Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities: Luyolo Mphithi (Nazley Sharif)
- Justice and Correctional Services: Glynnis Breytenbach (Werner Horn)
- Public Service and Administration: Leon Schreiber (Michelle Clarke)
- Defence and Military Veterans: Kobus Marais (Maliyakhe Shelembe)
- Home Affairs: Joe McGluwa (Angel Khanyile)
- State Security: Dianne Kohler Barnard (Mimmy Gondwe)
- Police: Andrew Whitfield (Okkie Terblanche)
- Trade and Industry: Dean Macpherson (Mathew Cuthbert)
- Finance: Geordin Hill-Lewis (Dion George)
- Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development: Annette Steyn (Thandeka Mbabama)
- Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation: Leon Basson (Emma Powell)
- Basic Education: Nomsa Marchesi (Desiree van der Walt)
- Health: Siviwe Gwarube (Lindy Wilson)
- International Relations and Cooperation: Darren Bergman (Mergan Chetty)
- Higher Education, Science and Technology: Belinda Bozzoli (Baxolile Nodada)
- Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: James Lorimer (Hannah Winkler)
- Transport: Chris Hunsinger (Thami Mabhena)
- Mineral Resources and Energy: Kevin Mileham (Cheryl Phillips)
- Social Development: Bridget Masango (Thandi Mpambo-Sibukhwane)
- Public Enterprises: Natasha Mazzone (Erik Marais)
- Sports, Arts and Culture: Tsepo Mhlongo (Veronica Van Dyk)
- Employment and Labour: Michael Cardo (Michael Bagraim)
- Public Works and Infrastructure: Patricia Kopane (Samantha Graham)
- Small Business Development: Zakhele Mbhele (Henro Kruger)
- Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: Haniff Hoosen (Cilliers Brink)
- Communications and Telecommunications: Phumzile van Damme (Cameron Mackenzie)
- Tourism: Manny De Freitas (Hlanganani Gumbi)
Alf Lees and Bendicta van Minnen will represent the DA on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), while Phillip de Lange and former Knysna mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies will serve on the Standing Committee on the Auditor-General. Denis Joseph and Ashor Sarupen will represent the DA on the appropriations committee.
Last week, the DA in the Western Cape legislature offered the ANC the position of the chairperson of Scopa to the ANC.
Both Maimane and DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said that, if the ANC was serious about oversight, they would return the favour.
Steenhuisen and Maimane felt that Lees would make a good Scopa chair, succeeding Themba Godi - whose party, the APC, did not retain a seat in the National Assembly.
"When it comes to Parliamentary accountability, size indeed does matter," Maimane said.
"It is easy to get a small party to agree with you."
Steenhuisen said: "Government is only as good as the oversight of it."
In several cases, MPs retained the positions they had held in the 5th Parliament, like Natasha Mazzone in state-owned enterprises, Phumzile van Damme in communications, Bridget Masango in social development, and Belinda Bozzoli in higher education.
Notable changes are the finance and police teams. In finance, former MP David Maynier has moved to become Western Cape MEC for finance. In police, Zakhele Mbhele and his deputy Dianne Kohler Barnard have been moved to the small business and state security portfolios respectively.
Among the first-term MPs handed a portfolio are Siviwe Gwarube, Leon Schreiber and Luyolo Mphithi.
High profile DA MPs James Selfe, Mike Waters and Thomas Walters are not spokespersons. Maimane said they held positions in the DA party structures and would focus on DA governments, to ensure that they fulfil their mandates.