John Steenhuisen. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/RUVAN BOSHOFF
John Steenhuisen. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/RUVAN BOSHOFF

The DA elected its new caucus leadership team for parliament on Thursday, saying the group represents the experience, diversity and skills needed to improve the work of the national legislature.  

In a surprise outcome, Mike Waters who served as deputy chief whip of the party in the last parliament, lost out to Jacques Julius, who was previously the DA member in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

DA leader Mmusi Maimane had already announced last week that John Steenhuisen would retain his position as chief whip of the party.  According to the party’s constitution, each caucus elects a chairperson and whip or whips from among its own members, except when chief whips, where these exist, are chosen according to a system approved by the DA federal council.

Annelie Lotriet was elected caucus chairperson, while Haniff Hoosen was voted in as the deputy. The NCOP leader will be Cathy Labuschagne.

The team of whips will consist of Natasha Mazzone, Phumzile van Damme, Erik Marais, Solly Malatsi, Geordin Hill-Lewis, James Lorimer, Chris Hunsinger, Darren Bergman, Nomsa Tarabella Marchesi, Annette Steyn, Willem Faber and Patricia Kopane.

“It will be this fine leadership team that will actively engage with parliament’s office-bearers, led by speaker Thandi Modise, to ensure that the legislative arm of the state is indeed a place that works for the people,” said Steenhuisen.

“The reality is that SA is in trouble. Our economy has stagnated and policy uncertainty means that parliament must focus on passing legislation that benefits the country and that we vigorously debate the real issues facing South Africans.

“The floors of the National Assembly and National Council of Province, and the chambers of committee rooms should not be used to exchange insults. They must be used to build a better SA for all,” he said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za