DA announces it’s team in Parliament

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Copy of ca p3 Mmusi Maimane done_CITY_E1

CAPE ARGUS

Mmusi Maimane will pick his shadow cabinet soon. Photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The DA announced its parliamentary leadership team on Thursday, following an internal election held by the party's caucus earlier in the day.

As expected, Mmusi Maimane will lead the Democratic Alliance in the Parliament following his unopposed nomination for the position.

Other members of the team are:

* chief whip: John Steenhuisen;

* caucus chair: Anchen Dreyer;

* caucus deputy chair: Richard Majola;

* deputy chief whip: Mike Waters;

* leader in the National Council of Provinces: Elza van Lingen; and,

* whip in the NCOP: Kathy Labuschagne.

Steenhuisen, a former eThekwini city councillor and DA caucus leader in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, has served as a whip in the National Assembly since 2011.

Dreyer, a member of the National Assembly since 2005, has previously served as a whip and on numerous portfolio committees.

Majola was previously speaker in the Western Cape provincial legislature.

Waters has served as an MP for 15 years.

The caucus on Thursday also elected a number of whips. They are Dion George, Natasha Michael, James Masango, Annette Steyn, Erik Marais, Diane Kohler-Barnard, Gavin Davis, Patricia Kopane, Ian Ollis, Lance Greyling and Steven Mokgalapa.

Asked whether DA leader Helen Zille - re-elected Western Cape premier earlier this month - might ultimately return to Parliament, Maimane said this was an option that could be exercised a year from now.

"The option for premier Helen Zille to be able to come back to Parliament could only be available... after a year from now. Whether she will exercise that or not remains entirely her choice."

Maimane said he had a "very good working relationship" with Zille.

In her on-line newsletter SA Today, published on the DA's website last Sunday, Zille mooted the possibility of a return to Parliament.

"In a year’s time, we will assess the situation to see if it is working. If not, one possibility would be to swap with someone in Parliament, so that I can be on the national list and lead the DA in Parliament."

Maimane on Thursday said he would spend the next week consulting caucus members to make sure that the DA's "shadow cabinet" could be announced soon.

On unity in the caucus, he said his message was that its members should "not coalesce around an individual", but around the DA's cause.

He described the new parliamentary leadership team as "talented, diverse, and with a huge amount of collective experience".

Its priority would be to ensure, as opposition, that government grew the economy and created jobs.

"We centred our election campaign on job creation because unemployment is, without doubt, the single biggest challenge we face."

Maimane takes over from Lindiwe Mazibuko, who resigned as parliamentary leader after the May 7 general elections. She is going to study at Harvard in the US.

Maimane was the DA's Gauteng premier candidate in the May 7 elections.

Sapa


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