EFF leaders have responded with public criticism, to the news that DA chief whip, John Steenhuisen, is not qualified “beyond a matric certificate.”
EFF National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has on Monday, 26 November 2018, criticised the Sunday Times’ coverage of the news on DA chief whip, John Steenhuisen. The newspaper published a report yesterday exposing the DA MP for not being qualified “beyond a matric certificate.”
In a tweet, Ndlozi insinuated that the publication omitted some important details. He says this allows Steenhuisen to enjoy white privilege. “If it were a black leader, this article would have even published his matric results, so as to tarnish his standing as a chief whip for a serious law making institution like parliament,” Ndlozi tweeted.
Other prominent EFF members have also commented on the news with the party’s deputy president, Floyd Shivambu, saying the revelation explains why Steenhuisen is so “shallow”.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane came to Steenhuisen’s defence. In a tweet, Maimane describes the politician as “the finest Chief whip of the opposition in Parliament.” He also referred to him as a “constitutionalist and a fierce defender of freedom.”
The DA in KwaZulu-Natal proposed that Steenhuisen’s position can only be occupied by members who hold degrees. The party submitted the proposal to the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, and is still waiting for consideration.
According to the Sunday Times article, approval by the commission could lead to Steenhuisen losing his post after next year’s national elections.
Speaking to Cape Talk, Steenhuisen said that MPs with his credentials hold top positions to avoid elitism in the country’s decision-making process. “Parliament recognises that there are people who do not have formal qualifications,” he said. “They should not be locked out of being public representatives in articulating hopes and needs of their constituencies.”
The DA Chief Whip added that not having a degree should not give the impression that he is not qualified for the job. “Over the course of that 20 years, I’ve done enumerable in-service training and vocational courses in municipal finance, ethics, [and] legislative process, including African economics,” he said.