South Africa


Mpho Phalatse will stay put in the Democratic Alliance despite losing leadership race

Mpho Phalatse will stay put in the Democratic Alliance despite losing leadership race
Mpho Phalatse at the Democratic Alliance Federal Conference held at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on 1 April 2023. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Mpho Phalatse has accepted losing the leadership race and reiterated that she is not planning to leave the DA for ActionSA. 

In what insiders call the biggest win ever recorded by a federal leader candidate, John Steenhuisen has won the DA leadership position and Dr Mpho Phalatse has accepted her loss, saying the party missed out on her ahead of the 2024 general elections. 

Presiding officers declined to share the number of votes received by both candidates, but DA insiders told Daily Maverick that Steenhuisen registered a convincing victory of 84%, a 4% increase from the previous congress. 

In her final leadership push, Phalatse took a swipe at Steenhuisen, invoking comparisons with Zuma on Saturday, 1 April. Her speech failed to gain her more support from the DA delegates at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. 

Speaking to Daily Maverick, Phalatse said:

“I am disappointed obviously, I raised my hand for a reason. I believe that the Democratic Alliance had an opportunity here [with me] ahead of 2024 [general elections] given the ANC’s imminent collapse. However, I will stand behind John and I will not be leaving the Democratic Alliance.” 

Phalatse said suggestions that her contesting for the federal leader position was her way of opening the door to leave the party are people’s “crazy” imaginations. 


She said she will continue fighting from within the party for diversity and be the voice for South Africans within the party. 

“South Africans keep on telling us what they would like to see within the DA and that to me shows that there is an appetite for a DA government. I am keen to hear from John what his plan is, going into the 2024 general elections.” 

The DA congress elected a male-dominated leadership, with Solly Malatsi being the only Black African to make it to the party’s top leadership. 

Phalatse defended the elected leaders, saying the DA is a non-racial party:

“We do not operate on racial quotas. We allow and encourage everyone to put their hand up for available positions. When we pick people we do not do it based on their demographic data.”

She declined to confirm or deny whether she will be contesting the Gauteng provincial leader position and said she needs time to process what people have been telling her. She hinted that she has been approached to consider standing. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Johan Buys says:

    Can somebody please explain DA leadership in terms like a company’s governance?

    There are “Federal Leader”, “Federal Chairperson”, “Chairperson of the Federal Council” plus THREE “Federal Deputy Chairperson” and THREE “Deputy Chairperson of the Federal Council”. And a CFO. I suspect there are many more council and federal positions to reflect geography, sex, race, religion, whatever.

    Do all these people have one-person-one-vote powers in deciding issues relating to Policy, what party faithful get parachuted to which Cadre position, how which coalition in various places will be managed?

    It is nuts. You cannot run an agile opposition like this.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    @mpho I am very pleased to hear you are putting party before self. It is commitment like this that will bring stability to ZA politics and I and sure the DA and the country will reward you for it in good time.

  • Sam van Coller says:

    Dr Phalatse has the intellect, character and emotional maturity required to succeed in the long, hard road of politics which requires staying power. Her time is just around the corner

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