John Steenhuisen was speaking on Sunday during his outgoing address on day two of the DA’s virtual elective conference.
Interim DA leader John Steenhuisen addressing party delegates on 1 November 2020 on day two of the DA’s virtual federal congress. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter
JOHANNESBURG – Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen on Sunday said 2020 had delivered the very best of the DA up against the worst of the governing African National Congress (ANC) government.
Steenhuisen was speaking during his outgoing address on day two of the DA’s virtual elective conference.
He said the inadequacies of the ANC government were clear for all to see in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steenhuisen said the DA’s capabilities to govern were put to test and thrived when the Western Cape, which is led by the party, became the early epicentre of the pandemic.
Focusing his attention on the press, Steenhuisen complained of unfair treatment saying some were caught up in the ANC and sought to see the DA in a similar light.
“Despite the best efforts of our opponents, including some in the media, to cast aspersions and draw dishonest conclusions as infections rose throughout the province, the response of the Western Cape was near faultless,” Steenhuisen said.
He said in the short term this might be frustrating but would eventually work in the favour of the opposition party.
Steenhuisen also called on party members not to be discouraged in the coming months leading up to the 2021 local government elections.
He said the DA’s members knew what the organisation stood for.
“We always speak of the DA difference, the tangible benefits of living in a town, city, or province where the DA governs. And normally this difference is built up over years and years of perfecting systems, of finding the right people, and of trimming the sails of our policies just right,” Steenhuisen said.
He added: “But this year, that difference was compressed into just seven months of COVID response, and this has made it incredibly real and visible.
“Never before has the water between the DA and ANC in government been as clear, as it is now. This makes me proud to be a part of this effort. And it should make you proud too.”
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STEENHUISEN CONFIDENT HE’LL BE ELECTED
At the same time, Steenhuisen on Saturday said he was confident he would clinch the party’s top job.
He has told Eyewitness News he was also elated after managing to crush proposed amendments to the party’s constitution put forward by his contender Mbali Ntuli.
Steenhuisen said most of the constitutional amendments he proposed were accepted while delegates rejected proposals he did not favour.
That included Ntuli’s call for the party to have a deputy leader.
“I’m feeling quite confident that things will go my way. I think that the work that I’ve done on the ground visiting delegates [and] talking to people about my vision to fix the DA – in fact South Africa – has found resonance with delegates,” Steenhuisen said.
Meanwhile, Ntuli said regardless of the outcome of the vote to elect a new national leader, she felt that she had fulfilled her purpose.
“I’m feeling confident, but like I’ve been saying to my team, whatever happens we really aren’t losers in this congress. We’ve really done a great job on reinvigorating the party, having a proper contestation, and also just making South Africans to have hope again,” Ntuli said.
Delegates were expected on Sunday to finalise congress resolutions. The DA would also announce new leadership at 2pm.
WATCH: ‘We need a new way of politics’: Mbali Ntuli’s final speech for the DA’s leadership position