The race for the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) leadership is wide open and the party confirmed it will hold its elective congress at the end of May, after its policy conference in April.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, following a two-day Federal Council meeting at the party’s Bruma, Johannesburg, headquarters, interim party leader John Steenhuisen said the party was ready to build and grow.
Steenhuisen, who is running for the position, admitted the DA had fallen out of favour with voters during the last general election, but said it was striving to build a new majority and “reach across the aisle” to attract those who shared values with the DA.
“Our policy conference and subsequent congress are our opportunity to resolve and reset,” he said.
“They are our opportunity to achieve real unity and common purpose. After this process, we will emerge united and stronger.
“We have built good momentum recently and need to keep building on this momentum by focusing on what matters for the people of South Africa.”
He said getting the country’s economy back on track was at the forefront of his policy for the DA.
During his manifesto launch, Steenhuisen said he wanted to free South Africans from an oppressive tax system and turn around state-owned enterprises.
“I want to free the citizens of this country from an oppressive tax regime that saps incentive and kills innovation.
“Instead of using taxation to punish citizens, we must use it as a means to incentivise innovation and investment. So, for our economy to grow and create jobs, we need to offer firms and citizens some tax relief.
“And we need to ensure that our tax money is spent on the things that people need, to help lift them out of poverty,” he said.
Steenhuisen, who is competing against KwaZulu-Natal leader Mbali Ntuli, Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela and Gauteng leader John Moodey, said his plans not only included economic growth and job creation but the overhaul of the health, education and welfare systems.
“To date, we have publicly released the draft values and principles document. In the next few weeks, the policy unit will continue to engage with various provincial councils as part on the ongoing internal consultation process,” said Steenhuisen.
The federal council was satisfied with the progress made in relation to preparations of the Federal Congress at the Gallagher Convention Centre.
He said nominations for leadership positions included federal leader, federal chairperson and three deputy federal chairpersons.
“Nominations received will be interrogated by the federal statutory obligations department under the direction of Greg Krumbock, MP, and Desiree van der Walt, MP, electoral officers of the federal congress elections,” he said.
The deadline for nominations is 4pm on 9 May.