Former Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen has been elected unopposed as the party’s new parliamentary leader, following the resignation of Mmusi Maimane from both parliament and as party leader in the past week.
The party announced the news on Sunday.
Nominations for the position closed on Friday night and the position was uncontested with only one nomination, said DA caucus chairperson Annelie Lotriet, who had been acting in the position.
“Therefore the new parliamentary leader is John Steenhuisen. The DA’s parliamentary caucus looks forward to working with Mr Steenhuisen and he can be assured of our support,” she said.
Steenhuisen had told the media in the past week that he has been approached to throw his hat in the ring as the party’s leader, following Maimane’s departure.
He told radio host Eusebius McKaiser on Radio702 on Thursday that he had been approached by several DA members to run for party leader, but wanted “the bodies to cool” first while he “gives it consideration”.
Daily Maverick, meanwhile, was among those who reported that Steenhuisen was a frontrunner for the position of parliamentary leader.
After an extremely dramatic week for the DA, which culminated in the resignations of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, Maimane and former federal chairperson Athol Trollip, Steenhuisen confirmed that his position as chief whip would come to an end alongside Maimane’s.
Steenhuisen’s term as chief whip was linked to Maimane’s, meaning his term would end with the former DA leader’s.
“The chief whip is appointed by the leader. Since he announced his resignation from parliament, my term ends,” he said.
While some reported this as Steenhuisen resigning or stepping down, this was far from the case.
The Citizen reported at the time that the end of his term as chief whip by no mean spelt the end of Steenhuisen’s career in the DA and that there was a strong possibility he would be elected to a more important position, as is now the case.
The party recently announced its federal council will meet on Sunday, November 17 to elect an interim leader and interim federal chairperson.
Federal council chairperson Helen Zille also took to Twitter and claimed that the party had “steadied the ship”.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting, News24 Wire)