John Steenhuisen needs to be taken notice of

Graham McIntosh says the only parties that matter are the ANC and the DA, the rest are ‘chicken feed’ for the most part

John Steenhuisen needs to be taken notice of

20 October 2021

The Local Government Elections on Monday 1 November 2021 is about only two parties – the ANC and the DA.  Only they have a full national footprint and only they, have experience both in government and in opposition.   The other parties are, except for the IFP in KZN and Gauteng, in terms of national voter support, “chicken feed”.   That may change by 2 November 2021.   The unassailable reality is that this election is about Steenhuisen and Ramaphosa and choosing between the DA and ANC.

The ANC is in opposition in the Western Cape and Cape Town and they seem feeble at it, unlike the DA which is vigorous wherever it is in  opposition.  In the rest of the country’s municipalities where the ANC are in Government it is in clear view, that, with the single exception of – Senqu (Lady Grey) – all are deplorably badly managed.  President Cyril Ramaphosa is the only ANC “Champion” who retains enough credibility to attract votes so he’s being worked to the bone.  Furthermore the ANC has run out of money; it’s Candidates’ selection process has been very badly managed; in KZN, the ANC not only murders its own aspirant candidates but supports Zuma who is the most corrupt politician that South Africa has ever known.  The ANC/SACP certainly connived in and many supported, the evil of the July insurrection to burn, loot and destroy much of the economy of the very Province where they are in Government.  The ANC will almost certainly drop its voter support below 50%.  The future will be coalitions.

I am bold enough and qualified enough, without wishing to appear conceited nor arrogant, to make an assessment of Steenhuisen as Leader of the DA.  My audacity arises from my experience gained from my 40-year long (1974-2014) service in Parliamentary party politics under a succession of political leaders from de Villiers Graaff (John Vorster was Prime Minister) through van Zyl Slabbert (PW Botha was President), Tony Leon (Mbeki was President) to Mosioua Lekota (Zuma was President).  There’s nothing like the rough and tumble of Parliament and being a  member of one’s Party Parliamentary Caucus and attendance at Party Congresses, to see a Leader exposed to scrutiny and examination.  My assessment of Steenhuisen includes assiduously following the present campaign trail which digital media has brought quite literally, through Smartphones and computer screens, into our headphones and our faces.    I also believe that I have a genuine desire to see the best in others, including those with whom I may disagree.    I am not sycophantic by nature but rather to the contrary, as my political career bears witness.  As Colin Eglin once sagely observed to me in discussion about political leaders – “There are no Supermen”.  I agreed with him.

I have known Cyril Ramaphosa since he was an older teenager in Soweto.  Even then I observed, with others, that he was “Head Prefect material”.   I have known John Steenhuisen, since his early activism for the Democratic Party and then the DA.  Steenhuisen became, at 22, the youngest City Councillor in Durban where he did an outstanding job.   He constructively and fearlessly resisted the ANC’s bad politics.  He then took on the ANC in the Provincial Council and again when he moved to Parliament in Cape Town.  Steenhuisen is a seasoned and principled politician.  The DA and himself, are experienced in coalition politics.   He is tough, open-minded, extraordinarily well read, without a tinge of racism, completely comfortable in his own skin, and highly articulate.  He will have no truck with the EFF nor with the “woke left”, who are essentially the lost souls of the imploding ANC and SACP, who masquerade in a host of NGOs and in the Media.

The DA has nominated candidates in every single ward in every single Municipality.  The DA under the leadership of Gwen Ngwenya MP has sanitised itself from the “race card” and the social engineering of race and gender quotas.  The DA’s election preparation was done in good time.  Nobody was murdered.  Every candidate went through a rigorous process of selection and training.  It suggests, indeed it is proof, of a “government-in-waiting”.   Steenhuisen must take considerable credit for that.  He has been impressive in sticking, throughout the campaign, to the election message of the DA that it “gets things done”. The big question, after the result of 1 November becomes clear, is how will the DA do in the Parliamentary and Provincial 2024 General Election.  Would Steenhuisen be a suitable person and leader to stand for President.  He’s certainly young enough. My assessment is that he would handle it well.  He is incontestably already a rising star in our South African politics.

Graham McIntosh is a member of the DA but holds no office within its structures.