John Steenhuisen speaks on the current challenges facing the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - In what could be seen as an attack on outgoing Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, DA’s parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen, said the days of “parachuting” people to higher positions in the party are over.

Steenhuisen told a DA ward gathering in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday evening that the party must now prioritise its own homegrown timber, more emphatically, its grassroots activists, instead of bringing people from outside and place them high on lists for positions. 

He said the “Johnny-come-latelies” who are brought from outside were the first ones to jump ship when the party experiences turmoil. This was seen as taking a jab at former national party leader Mmusi Maimane, whom his critics say was parachuted by former national leader, Helen Zille, to lead the party in 2015 when she vacated the position. 

DA’s parliamentary leader John Steenhuisen, said the days of “parachuting” people to higher positions in the party are over. Video: Sihle Mavuso


However, Steenhuisen said he was not referring to Maimane as he was one of the longest serving party members who started his work in the city of Johannesburg. His utterances were then believed to be directed at Mashaba who joined the party five years ago. In August 2016, Mashaba became the party’s mayor of Johannesburg.

Steenhuisen said diversity is more than allocating positions according to “skin colour” as done by their rivals, the ANC.  He said they want to build a DA whereby a black member can represent the interests of white pensioners or vice versa. 

Political Bureau