DA’s new parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban - The DA’s new parliamentary leader, John Steenhuisen, says he will still hold President Cyril Ramaphosa to account - just as his predecessor Mmusi Maimane did.

The assurance by Steenhuisen comes as rival opposition party the EFF and political analysts say Maimane was pushed out of the DA for his tough stance on the ANC and Ramaphosa.

Maimane was behind exposing the fact that Ramaphosa’s CR17 campaign for the ANC presidency in 2017 received a controversial donation of R500 000 from Bosasa.

The revelation was followed by a probe initiated by Maimane, who asked Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to look into the matter.

During Mkhwebane’s probe, a trove of banking details from the CR17 campaign were leaked and names of donors laid bare. Included among those who donated to the campaign were known DA funders and supporters.

Asked on Tuesday whether he was going to be vigorous when dealing with Ramaphosa, just like Maimane had been, Steenhuisen replied: “As the parliamentary leader of the official Opposition I have an obligation to hold national government accountable for the exercise of their powers, and this will not change.”

He added: “It’s business as usual. We will continue to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa to account and will fight for the establishment of a Standing Committee on the Presidency to ensure greater oversight.”

However, he did not answer questions on whether he was still going to pursue the issue of the R500000 Bosasa donation, like Maimane did, or would tone it down until the North Gauteng High Court ruled on the public protector report regarding the matter.

Political analyst Professor Sipho Seepe maintained the last straw for Maimane was the Bosasa donation, and his relentless pursuit of Ramaphosa.

“If Cyril (Ramaphosa) continues to be seen as representing white interests, the Steenhuisens (of this world) are going to be nice to him They will not be harsh on him,” said Seepe, who added that most DA supporters and funders were comfortable with the president and his style of politics, which they said was close to liberalism.

Another political analyst, Mighti Jamie, shared Seepe’s sentiments, saying under Steenhuisen the DA was likely to take a different approach when it came to Ramaphosa, adding that the party regarded the president as a good leader surrounded by bad people in the ANC.

He said likely to be handled with kid gloves included ministers Tito Mboweni and Pravin Gordhan.

Political Bureau