ANALYSIS: DA leadership: The party under Steenhuisen must now face up to race, redress and electoral mishaps

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ANALYSIS: DA leadership: The party under Steenhuisen must now face up to race, redress and electoral mishaps By Marianne Merten

Newly elected DA interim leader John Steenhuisen, who’s made no bones about the interim leader’s post being a pit stop before contesting the leadership position in early 2020, has five months to persuade the DA not only how to deal with race and redress, but also how to reposition itself away from “banging [on] about how bad things are under the ANC” and in establishing the party in communities to regain trust and electoral support.It’s ambitious.

Zille and Steenhuisen are set to clash. They are not quite on the same page, ideologically. Throughout Sunday’s media conference Zille sat stone-faced and silent. The DA unashamedly proclaims itself liberal with a focus on individuals, merit and potential rags-to-riches tales, but this means dealing with race, particularly for those of the libertarian and classical liberal persuasions, is an ideological pickle.

None of this is necessarily opposed to, for example, Gana’s interim leader campaign of “a new direction for economic, social and environmental justice”. But it would all depend on what kind of liberalism ultimately prevails.


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