John Steenhuisen. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE / THE HERALD
John Steenhuisen. Picture: EUGENE COETZEE / THE HERALD

Lucas Ntyintyane demonstrates a worrying misunderstanding of the roles of party and state in a constitutional democracy and exposes himself as a clear statist who would seek to entrench executive control while stifling accountability and parliamentary oversight in SA (“Alan Winde has what it takes to lead DA”, May 12).

The leader of the official opposition has a responsibility to carry out rigorous oversight over the executive, regardless of who that person is. This involves monitoring government at all times and critiquing decisions that are not made in the interests of our country and its people. Expecting John Steenhuisen to be more like Alan Winde is akin to asking a prosecutor to be more like the judge in a court case.

Comparing Steenhuisen to Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro for holding government to account merely shows that Ntyintyane compares those who critique the state to tyrants. This makes it clear that he would rather we sit down and shut up while our government dictates to us, instead of fighting to protect our freedoms and uphold democracy. This is not an attack on Steenhuisen, it is an attack on those who criticise government, which is the telltale sign of an authoritarian apologist or, more recently, an ANC lackey.

So thank you Dr Ntyintyane, but Winde will continue to act in accordance with his role as premier of the Western Cape and Steenhuisen in accordance with his role as leader of the official opposition, the DA. In the meantime, I would suggest Ntyintyane reacquaint himself with the roles and responsibilities of party and state and elected public officials and opposition politicians in a constitutional democracy. He may come to some insightful realisations.

Ryan Smith
Chief of staff to DA federal leader

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