Natasha Mazzone is being touted as the front runner to replace DA chief whip John Steenhuisen who is set to become the party’s federal executive chairperson

Steenhuisen confirmed to News24 on Thursday that party members were lobbying him to stand for the position of federal executive chairperson as James Selfe prepares to vacate the post in October. 

Earlier this month, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced that Selfe was stepping down from the position to head up its governance unit from October. 

Selfe, who has held the position for 19 years, has been tasked with supporting DA governments to ensure that they deliver more effectively. 

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In an interview with News24, Steenhuisen said he was considering the proposition to stand and was consulting people close to him. Selfe’s position is seen as one of the most influential positions in the party as the occupant is effectively the de facto chief executive and party head. 

“I think I can bring a lot of energy and experience to that position. I’ve been a provincial leader before. That position requires someone who is going to exercise significant heft within the party; those are big shoes to fill and I think the experience and energy I could bring to a position like that would certainly assist with being a good sense of support with [Mmusi] Maimane’s leadership,” Steenhuisen said.

Front runner

Party insiders said Mazzone was the front runner to take over as chief whip. Two others who could join the race include current deputy chief whip Jacques Julius and national spokesperson Solly Malatsi.

Mazzone has been the party’s voice on issues such as state capture and state-owned enterprises.

In her response to News24 about her interest in the chief whip position, Mazzone said she has not had any formal discussion with Steenhuisen regarding a possible succession. She added that it was premature to make any assertions around a possible replacement for the chief whip position.

“We serve [at] the behest of the national leader,” Mazzone said.

Malatsi said it was the first time he heard his name linked to the chief whip position, adding that his primary objective was to excel in his role as an MP and “fulfilling my role as national spokesperson”.

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