Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen has reiterated his view that his party is willing to join President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cabinet, if the opportunity is presented.
But Steenhuisen said it would not be up to him to make the call as the DA’s national leaders would need to make the decision.
“It’s not up to John Steenhuisen, it will be the decision of the federal executive and the federal council of the DA to do that.
“I would say to them [DA leadership], we’ve got to consider it and look at the terms of it,” Steenhuisen told Radio 702 during an interview on Tuesday.
The DA leader said he did not want to serve in an ANC Cabinet that would co-opt his party or stifle its political views in government.
“I would be very reluctant to serve in a Cabinet where I would not be able to continue to articulate our political views and to be thoroughly co-opted by the ANC. I don’t think that would serve South Africans.
“But I do believe in the future of SA, there are people who share the same values and principles who today are not wearing the same political T-shirts. And I think they’ve got to come together and do it very quickly because the forces on the radical left are amassing very quickly and the rational centre better get up and move to prevent this.”
Steenhuisen caused a stir last week after he told SABC News he was ready to serve in Ramaphosa’s Cabinet amid mounting calls for the president to reshuffle his executive after last month’s deadly civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
He said it was the president’s prerogative to choose ministers who serve on his Cabinet and he would be prepared to join his executive team.
“If it meant that we have to give up independence, we would have to examine that. But my party and I stand very ready to get our hands dirty and offer our expertise and experience in helping to rebuild South Africa,” he said.
‘Rational centre’ coming together
Steenhuisen said on Tuesday the country was facing a number of socio-economic challenges that needed to be addressed urgently, and a “rational centre” was required to form a government of national unity.
“I’ve made known the fact that I do believe that the future of South Africa lies with the rational centre coming together to form and build and a new majority in SA, to ensure that we can lead the country of this terrible trajectory of high unemployment, low growth and low investment into a new one. And I think it’s going to require a new majority to do that.
“I don’t think it’s possible with the current make-up of Cabinet and the ANC to be able to do that in any way, shape or form. There’s far too much rotten wood within that Cabinet,” he said.
He said citizens were tired of partisan politics and point scoring by politicians.
“I think many South Africans are looking to political leaders now to put aside petty differences and to put their heads together to come up with solutions.”
Steenhuisen added that the DA was committed to ensuring that it and other parties brought the ANC’s electoral majority below 50% at the polls.