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WRAP | John Steenhuisen named new DA leader, Zille new federal council chairperson

John Steenhuisen.
John Steenhuisen.
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John Steenhuisen has been named the new DA leader. Here is how it went down.


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01 Nov 2020

Steenhuisen has delivered an acceptance speech from Durban

The new leader says he got into politics because "I love my party and I love my country".

He said: "I'm here to take the DA to newer heights. Today I stand before you even more energised than I was 21 years ago. Our country is in serious trouble and the stakes have never been higher. I see despair in our country.

"As we journey through life, many of us don't lift our heads to see the horizon. How is it that this nation of hard-working people don't see prosperity."

He said the public has been "robbed of our destiny", and labelled the state as "corrupt" and "hell-bent on telling you what to do."

"The incapable state is in the way of you getting ahead. Their solution is even more state control... the government wants to own you. The good news is the people of SA are starting to reject state control."

He says the DA under his leadership will "offer people-power, not state-power."

"We are going to take power from the state and put it in the hands of the people, where it belongs."

He says he's travelled a long road in the DA, including exposing corruption, holding presidents accountable, "but never in my imagination did I think I would be leader of this great party."

He says the DA has grown to be a party that will one day that will one day "unlock the boundless potential of our country."

He thanked every delegate and members of his campaign team. "I am deeply humbled by your support."

He paid tribute to fellow frontrunner Mbali Ntuli, saying she fought him every step of the way. "We choose leaders on the basis of their ideas and content of their character," he said. 
<strong>Steenhuisen has delivered an acceptance speech from Durban</strong><br /><br />The new leader says he got into politics because "I love my party and I love my country".<br /><br />He said: "I'm here to take the DA to newer heights. Today I stand before you even more energised than I was 21 years ago. Our country is in serious trouble and the stakes have never been higher. I see despair in our country.<br /><br />"As we journey through life, many of us don't lift our heads to see the horizon. How is it that this nation of hard-working people don't see prosperity."<br /><br />He said the public has been "robbed of our destiny", and labelled the state as "corrupt" and "hell-bent on telling you what to do."<br /><br />"The incapable state is in the way of you getting ahead. Their solution is even more state control... the government wants to own you. The good news is the people of SA are starting to reject state control."<br /><br />He says the DA under his leadership will "offer people-power, not state-power."<br /><br />"We are going to take power from the state and put it in the hands of the people, where it belongs."<br /><br />He says he's travelled a long road in the DA, including exposing corruption, holding presidents accountable, "but never in my imagination did I think I would be leader of this great party."<br /><br />He says the DA has grown to be a party that will one day that will one day "unlock the boundless potential of our country."<br /><br />He thanked every delegate and members of his campaign team. "I am deeply humbled by your support."<br /><br />He paid tribute to fellow frontrunner Mbali Ntuli, saying she fought him every step of the way. "We choose leaders on the basis of their ideas and content of their character," he said.&nbsp;

01 Nov 2020

BREAKING | John Steenhuisen named new DA leader

In what was a clear win from the start, the DA has crowned John Steenhuisen as its new leader.

Steenhuisen, who acted as the party’s leader for over a year now, beat opponent Mbali Ntuli‚ in what was as an intense leadership battle to succeed Mmusi Maimane who left the party last year.

Steenhuisen was seen as the clear favourite to win the leadership race. 

Steenhuisen cut his political teeth in KwaZulu-Natal.

He became interim leader of the DA last year in the turbulent months following the party's dismal election results, which precipitated Helen Zille's re-emergence and Mmusi Maimane's departure as party leader.

Considered the underdog, Ntuli’s ran a 10-month campaign.

The announcement brings to a close a two-day congress.

01 Nov 2020

The new federal chairperson is Dr Ivan Meyer.

01 Nov 2020

The three deputy federal chairpersons are Jacques Smalle, Anton Bredell and Rafilwe Nt'sekhe. 

01 Nov 2020

The chairperson of federal council is Helen Zille. 

01 Nov 2020

Dr Deon George has been elected as chairperson of federal finance.

01 Nov 2020

The deputy federal chairpersons have been elected as James Masango and Thomas Walters. 

01 Nov 2020

The results are about to be announced...

01 Nov 2020

Not long now for the results to be revealed.

While we wait, here is a refresher of what went down on day one of the congress, when leadership hopeful Mbali Ntuli suffered a terrible defeat, according to insiders who spoke to News24.

People in Steenhuisen's camp said they had already started celebrating. 

The results are expected to be announced after 14:00.

As for now, the party's ancillary structures are delivering addresses. 

01 Nov 2020

The party has wrapped up voting on resolutions.

01 Nov 2020

In another resolution, delegate Cheryl Phillips proposes the banning of animals being used in circuses.

She says there are lots of young performers who are without work because caged animals are rather being used in circuses. Delegates say animals are bred in captivity and deprived of living naturally in the wild. 

However, other delegates say the only factor should be whether animals are being abused, and the state should not enforce a blanket rule to outlaw animals being used in circuses.

Delegates have voted against this resolution. 

01 Nov 2020

RECAP | Steenhuisen says DA is 'no longer adrift' during address

John Steenhuisen has painted the party he has led for the past year as one which has grown stronger in the face of adversity.

This adversity, he said, includes the Covid-19 pandemic, the governing ANC and a hostile commentariat and press.

Steenhuisen, who was the DA's interim leader, was addressing delegates at the party's virtual federal congress on Sunday morning.

"The DA has shown this year that we will not let adversity throw us off course. And this congress is no exception," he said.

He thanked party members, staff and public representatives for their efforts and said their work has been effective.

"Your work may feel thankless, and exhausting at times, but we're on the right track, and we're making progress. So stay energised and keep your eyes on the goal.

"For now, that goal is next year's local government elections, he said.

"Living with the effects of our lockdown economy and society has been hard on everyone and it has been so painful to watch so many South Africans lose everything they have built."

"And it is painful to know most of this, almost all of it, was not necessary. Other than the initial three-week lockdown, to prep hospitals and source equipment back in March, the devastation of the past seven months has achieved very little.

"But there has been one silver lining to this dark cloud. If it weren't for this very challenging year, we would not have seen the very best of the DA up against the very worst of the ANC."

"Never before has the water between the DA and the ANC in government been as clear and blue and vast as it is right now."
Jan Gerber with this report

01 Nov 2020

The party continues voting on resolutions.

01 Nov 2020

The energy resolution was passed by the party, but not the one on ecological crime. 

01 Nov 2020

The DA also proposes the establishment of an 'ecocide' charge as a crime against humanity.

Tiaan Kotzé cites recent serious acts of pollution to water sources, like the spilling of waste into Pietermaritzburg's Msunduzi River. He says there needs to be a criminal charge for this kind of incident.

01 Nov 2020

Another resolution by John Steenhuisen is securing the energy future of SA and changing the climate crisis.

Steenhuisen says Eskom remains one of the biggest polluters in the country. He says SA is prime for renewable energy and the country has an opportunity of a win-win situation where we could lower our carbon footprint and end load shedding. He labels Eskom the "failed state monopoly". 

01 Nov 2020

Delegates have voted on resolutions 19 and 20. Resolution 19, on rent control, did not pass, but resolution 20, on waste management, did. 

01 Nov 2020

The conference resumes.

Resolution 20 has to do with waste management

Tiaan Kotzé says improper waste management in the country could be a crisis going forward. He says introducing sustainable waste management could inject "thousands" of jobs into the economy and clamp down on illegal dumping. 

01 Nov 2020

The congress has adjourned for a short break...

01 Nov 2020

Resolution 19 is about rent control in areas governed by the DA.

Martin Meyer says the country is facing a crisis regarding housing. He says the poor is kept in poverty by being kept living far from economic hubs. He says there needs to be intervention, but it is tough to decide what would be a "reasonable" amount of rent. 

01 Nov 2020

Ivan Meyer says resolutions 16, 17 and 18 have all been passed by the congress.

01 Nov 2020

Delegates are now voting on resolutions 16, 17 and 18. 

01 Nov 2020

The next resolution is about making conversion therapy for LGBTIQ+ youth illegal in SA.

Martin Meyer says these practices still continue in South Africa. He says there is every evidence that this practice is not supported by science, and can have serious long-term consequences for people. He says the party must fight for queer youth in SA. 

01 Nov 2020

Resolution 17 has to do with preventing hate crimes against the LGBTIQ+ community, proposed by Mbali Nuli.

Sakhile Mngadi, who seconded the proposal, explains that the state should have a specialised investigative unit to clamp down on crimes against this community. 

01 Nov 2020

Resolution 16, by Andrew Whitfield, is protecting our streets.

He says the DA wants to empower provincial governments with the ability to manage police resources within the provinces. He says the too much power over policing resources is in the hands of "incompetent" police minister Bheki Cele.

01 Nov 2020

Ivan Meyer says there is an overwhelming majority in favour of both resolutions 13 and 15, which were about childhood stunting and farm attacks. 

01 Nov 2020

The DA's delegates are entering a process of voting on resolutions 13 and 15. The live broadcast has temporarily paused. 

01 Nov 2020

Resolution 14 will be dealt with at another stage. Resolution 15 is to end farm attacks and murders.

Dianne Kohler-Barnard says the "ANC-aligned" media has been ignoring farm attacks. She says rural communities are under attack, saying police's plans have failed. She claims farmers are four-times likely to be killed. She says police minister Bheki Cele is putting more focus on cash-in-transit heists rather than farm attacks. 

01 Nov 2020

The 13th resolution is to end childhood stunting by Mbali Ntuli. 

Ntuli says childhood stunting remains a hurdle to young children. The party proposes that children at certain schools will receive basic meals to ensure this problem doesn't happen. 

01 Nov 2020

Dean Macphearson delivers resolution 12 on providing tax relief to citizens and reduce government spending.

He says a tax reform has not been seen in SA in many years. He says there have been "collapsing tax returns" because of an "over-burdening" tax regime in the country. He says the party wants to lower the tax threshold for small-and-medium-sized businesses.

01 Nov 2020

Resolution 11 is on child malnutrition

Kamogelo Mangena says child malnutrition has especially been a problem under lockdown. He says social grants are the most feasible way to provide for families. He says the governments needs to fast-track the applications of vulnerable homes not getting relief. He says food vouchers, as opposed to monetary relief, can "go a long way" to addressing this problem. 

01 Nov 2020

The next resolution is about crime.

Michael Shackelton says the DA will look to improve the powers of IPID to ensure action on police transgressions are fast-tracked. He says public representatives on police committees must themselves be vetted to ensure they can sit on these committees. 

01 Nov 2020

Resolution nine is about ICTs

Kamogela Mangena explains that national government has failed its own targets for expanding ICTs and providing data to consumers. He says a DA-led government will ensure ICT access in policy development. 

01 Nov 2020

The next is to deregulate the labour market and collective bargaining to create jobs.

John Steenhuisen says SA has an unemployment crisis, and for a jobs revolution, a deregulated market is needed for companies to employ people. He says "we need to break the paradigm of state control over the labour market." He says jobs remain as the "best form of advancing a person's ability to provide a future for themselves and their family". He says the current system "needs urgent attention".

01 Nov 2020

Resolution seven is to outlaw cadre deployment in government departments.

Leon Schreiber says the root of corruption in the government is cadre deployment as opposed to proven ability of employees. He says corruption continues unabated because of this. He says this resolution affirms the party's commitment to fight corruption. 

01 Nov 2020

The next resolution is to become a party of fiscal discipline, by Geordin Hill-Lewis.

He says SA is in a fiscal crisis, saying that DA governments do not waste money. He says the country spends R250 billion on credit, leaving significantly less money to spend on what is needed. He says the DA's managing of the fiscus sets it apart from other parties. 

01 Nov 2020

Resolution number five comes from Alan Winde and is to embrace federalism by devoting substantial powers to well-run local and provincial governments.

He says the DA has "well run" governments, and sometimes have to deal with "unfunded mandates". He calls for such provinces and municipalities to get control of general running of the area, like policing. 

01 Nov 2020

The next resolution is cutting the public sector wage bill to stabilise public finances by Nicole Graham. 

Graham says the wage bill is "disproportionate" to other public spending, and is a result of political patronage by the ANC. He says the DA will compensate public healthcare workers and those kinds of workers more fairly with a reform of the wage bill. 

01 Nov 2020

The third resolution comes from Leon Schreiber, which is to promote and defend access to mother-tongue education.

Schreiber explains that the Constitution enshrines the right to diversity. He says the DA will fight to make mother-tongue education more "practicable" across more of the official 11 languages for education.

01 Nov 2020

The next resolution comes from Manny de Freitas about jobs within the tourism sector.

De Freitas says the DA proposes that tourism will be able to create job opportunities easily. 

The party's Sonja Boshoff says the tourism sector's fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic means it needs to be revived. 

01 Nov 2020

The first proposal, made by Steenhuisen, is to protect and secure private property rights to ensure sustainable land reform.

Steenhuisen says the ANC and EFF's plan of land expropriation without compensation will give land to the "incompetent state". He says the DA will fight against this, and get land into people's hands. 

01 Nov 2020

The DA's Ivan Meyer is set to speak about the congress resolutions...

01 Nov 2020

He says the party shows a diversity that is seen nowhere else in the country. 

Steenhuisen says "we are no longer a party adrift", and rather is a "fixed signpost for people to follow," saying the DA is a party people can trust. 

He pleads with the public to trust the DA.

Steenhuisen has wrapped up his address.

01 Nov 2020

Steenhuisen, for the third time, slams the media, saying the parties commitment to non-racialism is the only way to uplift the public. 

He says the ANC has "turn to the last refuge" of "divisive racial politics" with "scapegoating and blame". He says this will not allow for the country to move forward. 

He says the DA will unlock the "potential of our dreams". 

01 Nov 2020

Steenhuisen says the party has been given an "unfair" treatment in the press, but this shows that the standards the public has of the party is higher than that of other parties. He says the DA is the only party that will improve lives of South Africans.

01 Nov 2020

DA federal chairperson and leadership hopeful John Steenhuisen has opened the congress with an address...

Steenhuisen says the party is "securing the future because the country's future is tied to the future of the DA", and that the party is making history with today's vote. 

He says the party is "spreading the word that there is an alternative" to the "disappointing" ANC. 

Steenhuisen brings up the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, and how that has battered the economy and caused job losses. He says "most of it, almost all of it was not necessary".

He says the "devastation" of the seven-month lockdown was not necessary. He says that this pandemic has, however, shown the effectiveness of the DA against the ANC. He said the difference between DA-run areas and Covid-19 response and ANC-run areas was vastly different. 

Steenhuisen brings up the Western Cape's early spread of the Covid-19, saying the DA's response was "near faultless", taking umbridge with some media reports which were "untrue" about the party's fight against the virus. 

01 Nov 2020

D-day for the DA...

The DA will today elect its new leader after it concludes a two-day virtual conference. The election comes six months later than scheduled, and will conclude a tumultuous time for the party, underscored by former leader Mmusi Maimane’s departure, a poor showing at the 2019 elections and the exiting of key members.

Our reporter Jan Gerber summed up the conference and its background here.

The battle lines were drawn as early as August when leadership hopeful Mbali Ntuli challenged other frontrunner John Steenhuisen to a public debate, charging that Steenhuisen represented a “status quo” in the party, whereas she feels she would bring about a fresh direction.

A critical moment in the DA’s history. Our columnists share their views on the leadership race and the current state of the party.

Could it take 30 years for the DA to grow? Our politics team dissect what lies ahead for the DA in our weekly politics podcast.
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