DA to initiate exploratory coalition talks - John Steenhuisen

DA leader brings in Tony Leon and Ryan Coetzee to serve on negotiating team

The DA will answer the call of South Africa

02 June 2024

Note To Editors: The following speech was delivered today by the Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen, during a Live Address to the Nation.

My fellow South Africans,

As the dust of the elections settle, we can start to see the way forward more clearly.

The people have spoken.

They have not given an outright majority to any party, thereby demanding cooperation from their political leaders.

With this historic result, our country has arrived at the next great fork in the road of our long and complex history.

As we digest the results of the 2024 elections and their implications, I know that many of you are feeling uncertain and anxious about the future.

Yet, it is important to remind ourselves that we have faced times of even greater uncertainty before.

Throughout our history, South Africans have overcome seemingly impossible odds.


We have done it before.

And we must now do it again.

Just over a year ago, I spoke to you from the same venue in Midrand where the election results are currently being finalised.

Following my re-election as Federal Leader, I committed the DA to the formation of a unified opposition bloc that became known as the Multi-Party Charter.

Throughout the election campaign, I encouraged voters to support the DA and the Multi-Party Charter to ensure that we achieve a collective majority of 50% plus one to form a new government.

While the DA grew nationally and in six provinces, the Charter unfortunately did not collectively achieve majorities at national or provincial levels.

Despite this fact, the DA is grateful to our MPC partners, and we remain committed to working constructively with those that are prepared to stand with us in putting the country first at this perilous time.

During the same speech from the DA’s Congress last year, I also indicated what the DA’s position would be in a scenario where the ANC loses its majority and the MPC falls short.

At the time, I said that if this scenario materialises – and I quote:

“The DA will make it our number one priority – and do absolutely everything in our power – to prevent an ANC-EFF Doomsday Coalition from taking power.”

In the 14 months since I spoke those words, the rise of the MK Party has only added to the urgency of this commitment.

The reality is that the DA is the only party that foresaw this risk, and that spoke openly and honestly with voters about it.

And so, it has come to pass.

Based on current projections, a combination of the ANC, the EFF and MK have the numbers to take power nationally, as well as in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The bottom line is that, collectively, the ANC, EFF and MK have the numbers to take power, while the Multi-Party Charter does not.

This is not the outcome that we wanted.

But it is the outcome we must now deal with.

The DA will not bury our heads in the sand.

We will face up to this challenge, for that is the task of leadership.

All throughout the election campaign, the DA undertook to rescue South Africa from the Doomsday Coalition.

We will now do our level best to do exactly that.

We will do so for the people who voted for us, and for the people of South Africa as a whole.

As a result, I can today announce that the DA’s Federal Executive has unanimously adopted a resolution to initiate exploratory talks with other political parties that share a commitment to the South African Constitution, to identify options for the formation of governments at national and provincial level where no party has obtained an outright majority.

To facilitate this process, the Federal Executive has appointed a negotiating team composed of Helen Zille, Ivan Meyer, Siviwe Gwarube, Alan Winde, Tony Leon and Ryan Coetzee to facilitate the engagement with other parties.

The purpose of these initial talks is to gather information on the options that are available to the DA as we seek to rescue South Africa from Doomsday.

This talented and experienced team will report back to myself and to the Federal Executive, where after the party will decide on the way forward.

I want to assure the people of South Africa that the DA will always act in the interests of the people throughout this unprecedented moment in our country’s history.

In all that we do, we will be guided by the DA’s fundamental commitment to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, promoting nonracialism, effecting clean, accountable government with zero tolerance for corruption, and building a social market economy that creates jobs.

Our engagements with other parties will also be rooted in the seven apex priorities outlined in our manifesto.

These include to create two million new jobs, end loadshedding and water shedding, halve the rate of violent crime, abolish cadre deployment, lift six million people out of poverty, triple the number of grade four learners who can read for meaning, and ensure quality healthcare for all.

My fellow South Africans,

For the Democratic Alliance, burying our heads in the sand while South Africa faces its greatest threat since the dawn of democracy, is not an option.

Because, before all else, we are patriotic South Africans who love this country.

That is why we will not recoil from complexity or difficult decisions.

Instead, we approach these exploratory talks with cool heads and an open mind.

We will meet the demands of history in this moment with the maturity and determination to live up to our campaign pledge to rescue South Africa.

Like you, I am a South African first.

The people that make up the DA, are South Africans first.

We have learned from the past thirty years that there are devastating consequences when party interests are put ahead of the national interest.

So, if you are anxious or scared about what South Africa will look like following these unprecedented election results, I want to reassure you.

The DA is here for you, and we take the future of you and your family seriously.

I too am a father to three young daughters.

And, like millions of other South Africans, I do not want them to grow up in a country run by a party like MK, that wants to abolish the Constitution which so many fought and died for, that wants to subvert the judiciary, and that plans to expropriate all private property and nationalise the Reserve Bank.

These are the things contained in the manifestos of the EFF and MK.

They amount to an all-out assault on the Constitution of our country.

They will cause untold unemployment, misery and hardship for millions of people.

Allowing this to happen, will set South Africa’s flag and Constitution on fire, just like the DA warned during our campaign.

This will signal the end of the South African dream that we all shared in 1994.

The DA will not give up on the dream of our Constitution, for a country that belongs to all who live in it – united in our diversity.

Our Constitution now faces its greatest test since 1994.

This moment calls on all patriotic South Africans to step up and defend our Constititon.

The DA will answer the call of South Africa.

We urge all others who love our Constitution and all it represents, to set aside narrow sectarian interests and join hands to act in the interests of the country that we all love.

Our country needs us now.

We cannot let her down.

Thank you.

Issued by the DA, 2 June 2024