John Steenhuisen back on the campaign trail as DA congress looms

The Democratic Alliance's (DAs) interim leader, John Steenhuisen – who has been vying for the job on a full time basis – has announced that his campaign to do so has officially resumed. 

Steenhuisen said on Wednesday that the upcoming online congress that will determine the person who will lead the DA is as important an event as any in the party's history, with the future of South Africa at stake. 

Steenhuisen: 'We have shown the DA at its very best'  

Steenhuisen delayed the resumption of his campaign, which is up against that of fellow member Mbali Ntuli, and a chance to permanently occupy the party's hot-seat, because he wanted the Federal Executive of the DA (Chaired by former leader Helen Zille) to "deliberate on the matter, and the nature of the historic, hybrid elective congress, as well as charting the way forward for the party". 

"I am excited to announce that I'm resuming my campaign to be elected as leader of the party at the upcoming congress in October of this year," said Steenhuisen. 

"There is no doubt that this will be a very important congress for our party, but also for our country. Over the last three months, the DA has proven our metal in the face of a historic crisis triggered by the coronavirus and the lockdown."

He said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the DA has shown that it is a party that believes in the power and agency of the populous, demonstrating this through its endeavours to give back civil liberties to South Africans who saw them torn away from them by Disaster Management Act enforced lockdown regulations. 

"During this time, we have shown that we remain as resolutely focused on saving South Africa as ever before. We have shown the extreme dedication of our governments, our public representatives, and our activists by assisting South Africans who have lost so much during this crisis."

"We have shown the DA its very best. More South Africans than ever before understand that the DA trusts and has faith in the people of this country, and that our mission is to give power to the people of this country, rather than the state."

"They know it, because they have seen it for themselves."

DA need a big voter turnaround  

Should he be elected, Steenhuisen has a difficult road ahead of him to restore credibility to the party after its dismal showing during the 2019 national and local elections. He believes that there are elements within the party that have the power to correct those that have soured or need urgent reform though. 

"We continue to show South Africa that there is nothing wrong with the DA that cannot be fixed with everything that is right with the DA."

"Let us build a better tomorrow for the party that we all love and the country that we all call come. The country and the DA depend on it."