GEORGE POLITICAL NEWS - The DA will be a constructive opposition under his leadership. That is the message of John Steenhuisen, the party's new leader and now also the leader of the official opposition in parliament.
Steenhuisen, who was elected as DA leader on 1 November, made time to speak to George Herald on Monday during a campaign visit to George in the run-up to the municipal by-elections.
He said as constructive opposition, the DA won't focus on criticising without putting workable alternatives on the table. He wants the DA to be a party that is shining a light - not on how deep the hole is, but showing the way out of the hole.
"South Africans know the trouble they're in. They are looking for solutions."
He said the DA still wants to became the national government. Asked about a timeline in achieving the goal he said, "We would like to be the core of a new majority in South Africa by 2024. The DA is not going to get 51%, but I believe there are enough good people in South Africa that want to come together around a common sense of values and principles.
"I think that the President and his reform agenda are dead in the water in the ANC as it is currently."
He believes the DA is going to need a partner for growth in the centre of politics to keep the left out. "I think there is a new majority coming in South Africa."
In his opinion the Garden Route is a very important area for the DA in the Western Cape. The party governs all the municipalities in a row, as well as the district municipality. It is important to have a good, strong showing in the area.
The DA wants to use next year's municipal elections as a springboard of momentum into the 2024 elections.
The last election (2019) wasn't a great election for the DA, he said. "We have learned some hard lessons. In the next elections we must get out there and grow and we must use it as a momentum-building exercise for 2024."
In his first week as new leader he picked up that there is still a lot of work to be done. "We must win back the trust of people who we have broken trust with in the past. We must also win the trust of new people in big numbers."
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