South Africa’s main opposition Democratic Alliance party has elected its interim leader John Steenhuisen to lead them into the 2024 national elections, the party said on Monday.Steenhuisen faced Mbali Ntuli for the top post but the latter proved to be a no contest, prompting the DA to immediately defend itself that it was not “a party just for white people.”
The new leader, who got 88 percent of the virtual convention vote of 2,000 delegates, pledged to lay the foundation for the DA to push the ruling African National Congress out of power and form a national government open to all one day.
“You’ve got to dispel the myth that this is a party for white people only. It isn’t,” Steenhuisen said.
He said the DA wants “to take power from the state and give it back to the people, where it rightfully belongs.”
“Anyone who saw the visuals of the congress over the weekend would see this is a party that is serious about becoming a home for all South Africans.
Steenhuisen said the DA would never turn its back on its core principles, and its constant criticism of the ANC would stop immediately in order to win wider support from the majority black population – the backbone of the ANC’s voting success.
Steenhuisen acted as the DA’s interim president after former leader Mmusi Maimane quit last year over policy differences with the mainly white senior leadership of the party.
Maimane was the first and only black person to ever lead this union of former all-white parties which introduced racial segregation and discriminatory laws into South Africa’s law books targeting the majority population.
The unfair laws turned the mineral resources rich country into a pariah state due to its rampant human rights abuses under apartheid which the UN described as crimes against humanity.