KZN DA leader Zwakele Mncwango. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA).

KWAZULU-NATAL DA leader Zwakele Mncwango has thrown his weight behind the party’s newly elected interim leader John Steenhuisen, despite previously questioning Steenhuisen’s qualifications.

The official opposition party also elected Ivan Meyer to succeed Athol Trollip as the interim federal chairperson following the resignation of the former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor last month. 

“As the DA in KwaZulu-Natal we want to congratulate the two interim leaders, John Steenhuisen and Ivan Meyer, who were elected to take us to the policy conference next year and the congress.

“We hope these leaders will be able to help us to unite the organisation and ensure that we are able to  discuss policy difference, but at the end of the day we must be able to agree on a common ground and be able to have policies that all members can be able to live with because at the end of the it’s not about the DA, it’s about South Africa,” said Mncwango. 

He said that there was no doubt that Steenhuisen and Meyer would be able to unite the party, which last month was hit with a spate of resignations of senior leaders, as they had committed to unite the party. 

However, the party’s former provincial leader Sizwe Mchunu, who earlier this year joined the ANC, has questioned Mncwango’s change of tune.   

In a post on his Twitter account, Mncwango calls for the correction of “the race narrative by opposition and media” that the DA did not elect a white leader but had elected a capable leader in Steenhuisen who happened to be white by birth. 

He also said that it was also not true that Makashule Gana, a member of the DA in Gauteng Provincial Legislature who had challenged Steenhuisen for the party’s leadership position, did not win because he was black, but because a majority supported another candidate. 

Reacting to Mncwango’s assertions on those elected to lead to the party, Mchunu said; “Haibo, am I dreaming? This is the very same Zwakele Mncwango who didn’t and have never supported John Steenhuisen.

In fact Zwakele and his caucus leadership “deliberately” questioned John’s credibility with his educational qualifications in relation to his then appointment as the opposition’s Chief Whip. I wash my hands. Akonakele,” Mchunu posted on his social media account.

In April 2015 Mchunu and Mncwango went toe to toe for the leadership of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal at its provincial congress in Richards Bay, in a battle which the former succeeded by seven votes.

Political Bureau