Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen on Tuesday said it was far too early to start speculating about his continued position as the leader of the official opposition party.
Steenhuisen, speaking during an interview at the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC’s) results operations centre (ROC) in Tshwane, said ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa should be the one who is worried about the governing party’s electoral performance in this year’s municipal elections.
“I think it is far too early to start speculating about futures. I do think the one person who should be worrying is Mr Ramaphosa because it looks like his party is in for a very very bad election result,” Steenhuisen said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika.
Steenhuisen was quizzed about his leadership of the DA after his predecessor, Mmusi Maimane, was given the boot from the party due to the DA’s poor showing in the 2019 general elections.
Steenhuisen said talking about his future in the DA was premature because he believes that he had grown the party’s electoral base from the 2019 polls.
“I’m not in the business of speculation, let’s get the results in the board and then we can see and move from the basis of fact.
“I know we’re going to have a good result. Certainly, the returns that are coming in now are very positive [and] significant. And I have grown the DA’s vote of the last election base and I think that’s a significant achievement,” he said.
‘Significant come back’
Steenhuisen said he was confident that this year’s local government elections would be a “significant comeback” for the DA.
“We have been running the most significant polling during this election. I know that we’re going to do well [and] I’m very confident that we’re significantly going to grow off a very bad result in 2019.
“And in many parts of the country, I think we’re going to even improve on our 2016 results,” he said.
Although vote counting was still underway with 90% of results expected by Tuesday evening, Steenhuisen said the DA would retain its stronghold in most municipalities in the Western Cape, particularly in the City of Cape Town and in Gauteng’s Midvaal Local Municipality.
He said the DA was also making inroads in districts controlled by the ANC after winning two wards belonging to the governing party in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We have been able to claw back support but also doubling and sometimes trebling our support in ANC strongholds in large parts of Gauteng, in the Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. We just won two wards of the ANC in KZN [and] these are huge advances and achievements,” Steenhuisen said.
“It’s early days yet and we wait to see the full picture emerge, but if the current trend continues I’m very confident we’re going to be in for a very good election.”
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe