DA's interim Leader John Steenhuisen at the DA head office in Johannesburg. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
DA's interim Leader John Steenhuisen at the DA head office in Johannesburg. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

The rather dramatic and angst-ridden editorial on the DA in Tuesday’s Business Day belies a number of key points that bear mentioning (“Battle for Gauteng reveals DA’s cracks”, December 10).

First among these is that while political parties — through patronage, perks and position trading — have had their say, the voters of both Tshwane and Johannesburg have not. Their opinions remain paramount and have yet to be heard in this debacle.

The DA remained firmly committed to the original governance agreement struck in 2016, essentially creating a coalition of supply in Johannesburg and Tshwane to further the aims of service delivery and clean and accountable governments. While the going has not been easy, both administrations racked up some significant achievements in economic growth, financial stability and accountable governance and service delivery.

The decision by the EFF in May 2019 to significantly alter the terms of the agreement by demanding the mayoralty and governance in Tshwane, despite only commanding 11% of the vote, was frankly a bridge too far. The dice that were recently played by the EFF had actually been loaded long in advance.

When these demands were escalated in recent weeks in the run-up to the mayoral vote in Johannesburg, the DA refused to open the door of governance to rent-seekers in the EFF. If that was the price of governance Business Day expected the DA to pay, I am proud to have disappointed. I remain steadfast in my view that our party should never govern at all costs.

In the end the EFF was not the “kingmaker” it likes to portray itself as, and Johannesburg, and no doubt Tshwane, have been thrown to the very wolves that landed them in a mess in the first place. Contrary to your misguided assertion of fiddling and hand-wringing, the DA is regrouping and consolidating following our internal review process and lessons learnt in the election.

Far from being on “their own”, as your editorial suggests, citizens now have a principled, determined DA fighting their corner and setting out an unambiguous alternative offer of hope and change for our country.

John Steenhuisen
DA federal leader

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