Judge me on merit not my colour: Steenhuisen

John Steenhuisen has been elected as the Democratic Alliance's interim leader.
John Steenhuisen has been elected as the Democratic Alliance's interim leader.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Judge me on merit and not the colour of my skin, this was the appeal made by the newly elected DA interim leader John Steenhuisen.

In his first address just moments after his election, Steenhuisen fielded questions around the DA electing a white leader in a country that is mostly black. He said that issues faced by black South Africans do not necessarily need to be addressed by a black leader.

“Yes, I happen to be a white South African but I want South Africans to judge me not on the colour of my skin but rather on the quality of contribution that I can make to improving the lives of South Africans,” said Steenhuisen.

“You don’t have to look a certain way, speak a certain way to speak out against injustice... we have a proud history of people in our party who didn’t look like the people they were fighting for and were out there everyday in the frontlines improving their lives.”

To drive his point further, Steenhuisen said people were less concerned with skin colour and compared the state of South Africa to an ill patient who could not care what colour skin the doctor was. 

“I think South Africa is a patient in deep crisis and I think South Africans are becoming less concerned about the colour of the doctor who’s going to perform a life saving operation to get South Africa from where it is to where it needs to be,” said Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen successful best Makashule Gana in the race for the DA’s top position following the resignation of Mmusi Maimane. Steenhuisen’s election will see him lead the party until next year when the DA is expected to hold its elective congress where new leadership will be installed.

He said that he would focus his attention on reconnecting with the voters and addressing the legacy of apartheid which he says continues to make poor a South Africans even poorer.

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