Democratic Alliance (DA) interim leader John Steenhuisen says he supports Gwen Ngwenya’s return as head of policy in the party.
Some members of the federal council allegedly objected to Ngwenya’s return during the meeting on Sunday at which Steenhuisen was elected interim leader.
Arguments against her return included that she had abandoned the party weeks ahead of the national election and, detractors averred, that she had bad-mouthed the party on social media.
Steenhuisen argued that restoring Ngwenya to the position made sense given the limited time for policy formulation ahead of the party’s policy congress in April.
‘This year is almost over, Parliament rises on 5 December. We have got till April to get the policy conference held after having commissions and going to structures. To my mind, it doesn’t make rational sense, given the time frame, to appoint someone new to start all over from the beginning,’ Steenhuisen said. He added: ‘But this is not a decision I can make’.
Steenhuisen indicated that he was intending to ‘put forward that case’ at the DA’s federal executive meeting yesterday.
Ngwenya left a senior position at the IRR at then leader Mmusi Maimane’s invitation at the beginning of 2018 to develop policies for the DA. The key issue was doing away with race as the criterion for tackling disadvantage. Ngwenya resigned the position earlier this year, saying the party was not willing to take policy seriously.
The DA’s muddled position on race was considered a key factor in its loss of votes in the May election.