Steenhuisen throws hat in ring for DA leader: 'I think I've got something to offer'

DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen at the Cape Town Press Club, where he announced that he'll be running to become the party's leader. (Jan Gerber, News24)
DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen at the Cape Town Press Club, where he announced that he'll be running to become the party's leader. (Jan Gerber, News24)

DA parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen has thrown his hat in the ring to become the DA's next federal leader.

He made the announcement while addressing the Cape Town Press Club on Monday, taking a leaf out of former leader Helen Zille's book. She also announced her intention to become DA leader at a meeting of the press club in 2007.

Steenhuisen's announcement was met with applause. He will also run for the position of interim leader on November 17. The full-time federal leader will be elected at a federal congress, provisionally scheduled for April, next year.

Last week, Mmusi Maimane resigned as federal leader and Athol Trollip as federal chairperson, causing an unusual situation in that the party was left without a leader. Under normal circumstances, the federal chairperson would fulfil the functions of the leader in the leader's absence.

Steenhuisen made no bones that the events of last week were a setback for the party but he said, leaning on the words of Mark Twain, that the "reports of the death of the DA are greatly exaggerated".

"Let me be very clear, I'm very sad about Mmusi Maimane's departure," he said.

He described Maimane as not only his leader, but a personal friend.

Steenhuisen asked to be judged on what he could do and said he wanted to work in the service of South Africa.

"I think I've got something to offer," he said.

After Maimane resigned as the party leader last week, Steenhuisen ceased being the DA's chief whip because the chief whip is appointed by the leader.

The party opened nominations for parliamentary leader and Steenhuisen was the only person nominated. He became the parliamentary leader uncontested.

Steenhuisen's announcement followed a talk setting out his vision for the party.

He said the DA must be a party of big ideas that get South Africans excited about their policy positions.

More to follow

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