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Steenhuisen elated about Kouga outright win, mum on his future in the DA as numbers drop

DA federeal leader John Steenhuisen cast his vote at Northwood Boys' High on Monday. File photo.
DA federeal leader John Steenhuisen cast his vote at Northwood Boys' High on Monday. File photo.
Image: Mfundo Mkhize

The DA is elated to have retained the Kouga municipality in the Eastern Cape with a majority win in the 2021 municipal elections, party leader John Steenhuisen said on Tuesday. 

This means the DA will run the municipality for the next five years. Steenhuisen said the win was a huge vote of confidence.  

However, the party’s numbers in several widely contested metros, including Tshwane and Johannesburg, appear to be on the decline.  

The DA’s poor electoral performance in the 2019 elections resulted in former party leader Mmusi Maimane quitting amid fallout over the decline in support.

The final results could decide Steenhuisen's fate.

Steenhuisen would not be drawn into commenting about that, other than to say: “You are asking to give a diagnosis on me before you’ve even seen a doctor. I will worry about that once we know what the final results say.”

Asked what the numbers would mean for the party in terms of entering into coalitions, Steenhuisen said he would rather wait for the results to be declared on Thursday.

“We want to see the final results before we start looking at possibilities. I think we can get a majority in some of those areas. There are still a lot of points to go on to the board, there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge before the metros start being in the position where we can see the lay of the land.”   

The party admitted to facing difficulties in governing Johannesburg and Tshwane, which they hoped to win with outright majorities this time around. 

“Given the circumstances, I think we have done very well. It’s very difficult to run a minority government. It’s very difficult to run a council when you are living literally from council meeting to council meeting. It’s very difficult to put a five-year plan on the table when you’ve got the minority government running things.”

The party has publicly said it would not enter into a coalition with the EFF in any circumstances.

Asked about this, Steenhuisen maintained his stance.

“We will not go into government with the EFF because our experience with them in Joburg, the fact that they were running the show behind the scenes, put us in a problematic position. They don’t share the values and principles of the DA.

“We said we are willing to talk to parties that share the values of nonracialism, respect the rule of law, the constitution, a social market economy and a capable state without cadre deployment. If they believe in those, we are willing to talk.”    

Steenhuisen raised concerns about the Electoral Commission’s handling of the elections, including problems with voter-management devices and ballot paper shortages that meant scores of people were unable to vote.

He called for an inquiry to be instituted into the commission as a Chapter 9 institution.  


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