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Meet Maimane’s team to lead the DA’s campaign

EXUDING PASSION: DA Federal Leader, Mmusi Maimane
During the Democratic Alliance launch of their election campaign the party leader Mmusi Maimane also announced the team that will be working alongside him in attempting to win elections in 2019.

 Phumzile van Damme, is the DA’s shadow minister of Communications and former national spokesperson, was elected as a member of Parliament in the 2014 general elections.
Phumzile graduated with a Political Science and Law degree from Rhodes University in 2007. She joined the DA as a political staffer a few months after the 2009 election and has worked for the party for almost a decade in various capacities as a DA staffer both for the DA and DA-run governments, largely in research and media, and is now a public representative.

Amidst reports of state capture, Phumzile tackled British PR agency, Bell Pottinger’s, attempt to divide South Africans by abusing racial tensions. She was instrumental in getting the PR agency expelled from the Public Relations and Communications Association, and putting Jacob Zuma, and company’s, abuse of state resources in the global spotlight.

In her work in Parliament, Phumzile has been instrumental in fixing problems at the SABC, and initiated and pushed for an SABC parliamentary inquiry to be held, which exposed the rot at the SABC, and saw the Minister of Communications fired and various members of the SABC’s top management, including Hlaudi Motsoeneng. She continues to relentlessly pursue excellence at the SABC.

Phumzile holds no prisoners in her participation in debates in Parliament, not afraid to hold the ANC and its leaders accountable.

She is an optimist and believes in the potential of South Africa’s beautiful people. She is an ardent believer in the need for South Africa to work for all, and in particular those discriminated during Apartheid.

Phumzile is also passionate about empowering young people with all the tools they need to succeed in life, which she achieves in her role as constituency head for DASO Western Cape.

Her work has not gone unnoticed, she has been named one of the Mail & Gaurdian’s Top 200 Young South Africans and one of the Top 20 Young Power Women in Africa by Forbes Magazine.


Born and raised in Randfontein, Member of the National Council of Provinces, Jacques Julius, worked as a teacher in his community for sixteen years.

As a boy, he and his siblings were raised by their grandmother because his mother passed away.

He became involved in student politics when he was in grade 11 and served as the public relations officer of the first elected SRC at Randfontein Secondary School in 1989.

Relying on his grandmother’s pension, student loans, and the support of friends and family, he matriculated and got a teaching qualification at the North West University – sometimes living in his friends’ hostels.

These challenges solidified his motto: “From the darkest hole, one can see the light best.” He went on to get a post-graduate degree in Educational Management.

Having cut his political teeth at a young age, Jacques served as a councillor for many years and was elected to Parliament in 2014.

He is currently a member of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) serving on the Communications, Telecommunications, Public Enterprises, and Technology portfolios.

Jacques still holds his community dear and serves as the political head of the Randwest Constituency – having been a councillor in the Randwest and West Rand District municipalities since 2006, and serving as the constituency chair and deputy chair.

IN CONVERSATION: Makashule Gana putting his point across during a meeting. *Photo: Tau Maifala


Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Makashule Gana hails from Lefara Village, Tzaneen, Limpopo. Having been brought up by a single mother, and as the eldest male child, he had to take care of and support his family when his mother passed away.

Makashule completed his matric at Giyani High School in 1999, and went on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Limpopo and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from Wits Business School.

Makashule first got involved in politics at university, becoming the Limpopo Provincial Chairperson of the Democratic Alliance Students Organization.

A DA member since 2002, Makashule has served in several capacities including DA Youth leader and deputy federal chairperson.

He worked as a software test analyst and business analyst for FNB and Absa Bank before working in politics.
Makashule has been a PR councillor in the Johannesburg Metro Council, and was elected as a member of Parliament after the 2014 general elections, serving as shadow minister of Human Settlements until 2016.

He left the National Assembly in order to fill a vacancy in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, and is currently completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Politics.

Member of Parliament, Natasha Mazzone, was born in Pretoria and was encouraged to be politically engaged at home and at school. As a student at the University of Pretoria, she established the Democratic Party’s youth branch, and went on to serve as youth leader for the DP and then the DA.

In 2003, she was appointed as a councillor in the Tshwane Metro Council, and she held various positions in the DA before being appointed as shadow minister of Public Enterprises in Parliament. She is also a Whip in the National Assembly in charge of both rules and legislation.

Natasha’s constituency is Pretoria East.

She believes that there is more that brings us together than keeps us apart; all of us want a prosperous South Africa where our children can receive quality education and we have access to homes, electricity, and water and sanitation.

She is one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans and a ACYPL alumni.

She is also DA deputy federal chairperson.


Chief Whip in the National Assembly,  John Steenhuisen, is a proud East Coaster, uMhlanga resident and Sharks and AmaZulu supporter. He attended Northwood Boys’ High School.

John cut his teeth in politics when he was elected to the, then, Durban City Council in 1999 at the age of 22, making him one of the youngest councillors in the city’s history.

In 2006, he was elected as the caucus leader of the official opposition, as a member of the eThekwini Municipal Council, and served on its Executive Council, representing Durban North for 10 years.

John was elected to the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature in the 2009 general elections, and subsequently as DA KwaZulu-Natal provincial leader – before going on to become a member of Parliament’s National Assembly in 2011.

Steenhuisen currently serves as chief whip for the official opposition in Parliament and is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament, previously serving as DA shadow minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

John is father to three daughters.

“As young people in the DA, we must, and will, rise for the rural youth, the township youth, the unemployed youth, and for all young people across South Africa,” Luyolo Mphithi. 

Youth Leader, Luyolo Mphithi, grew up in rural Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape. He has a Bachelor of Art and a joint honour’s degree in International Relations and Political Science from the University of Witwatersrand, and is currently doing a master’s degree in Public Administration.

The DA Youth Leader holds certificates in Political Formations and Structures, Research Methodology and Public Management from German and American institutions.

Luyolo was awarded the Ernst Oppenheimer Memorial Scholarship, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, and the Mandela Washington Fellowship (Barack Obama’s flagship leadership programme) – awards that solidified a strong need in him to give back, not only to his community, but to society as a whole.

The DA Youth Leader was named as one of The Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in Politics in 2017, and one of Avance Media’s 100 most influential Young South Africans in Politics in 2017.

Luyolo is a graduate of the DA’s Young Leaders Programme and has served in numerous roles in the DA such as DASO leader at Wits in 2012 and provincial Gauteng deputy chair for DA Youth in 2012.

He is a member of the DA Federal Council, representing the Johannesburg Region. And he also serves on the African Liberal Youth (ALY) as the treasurer – his role revolves around supporting youth organisations and political youth structures across Africa.

Previously, Luyolo Mphithi served as a councillor for the City of Johannesburg, representing the constituency of Meadowlands, Soweto, in the city council. He also served on the Public Safety Committee and Environment, Infrastructure and Services Committee.

Luyolo has also worked as a research and communication officer for the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, and as a consultant.

Currently, he serves as director of Political Administration for the City of Johannesburg, where he serves as the head of department for Political Administration in the City.


DA Women’s Network Leader, Professor Nomafrench Mbombo, hails from Mdantsane township in East London, Eastern Cape. Before entering into politics, she was an associate professor at the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape.

She holds a Ph.D. in the area of Gender and Human Rights (UWC), master’s in Maternal & Child Health (UKZN) and a bachelor’s in Nursing Science (UFH). She previously worked in provincial and local government health departments in the Eastern Cape and KZN respectively.

Before her appointment to the role of Western Cape Minster of Health, she was the Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs & Sport.

A scholar and community activist, Nomafrench has worked and collaborated with different stakeholders provincially, nationally, across Africa and globally; engaging communities, civil society, governments, parliamentarians and professional bodies to amplify the voices of populations at risk – particularly pregnant and rural women.

She has also served in different organisations as a member, advisor and consultant in various ministerial committees such as the National Committee of Confidential Enquiries on Maternal Death, NEPAD, and the UN Office of Human Rights: Women & Gender Directorate.


Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, Geordin Hill-Lewis, was inspired by his teachers at Edgemead High School to pursue politics and economics.

The University of Cape Town graduate, who has an honour’s degree in politics and economics, started the first Democratic Alliance Students Organisation in the country.

Initially a volunteer for the DA, Geordin progressed to work on Premier Helen Zille’s 2009 campaign, later becoming chief of staff to the former DA leader for five years.

Geordin was elected as a member of Parliament in 2014 and currently serves as shadow minister of Trade and Industry.

Geordin’s impetus for working in politics is to improve the economy and our education system so that many of the socioeconomic problems our country faces can be alleviated and all South Africans can live better lives.


Thandeka Mbabama

Shadow Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Thandeka Mbabama, was born in Phefeni, Johannesburg, but her family soon left South Africa for Lesotho and then Swaziland where she lived out her formative years and completed high school.

On her return home, she immediately worked in the banking industry eventually being recruited to the Land and Agricultural Development Bank where she worked for 15 years in the Retail Division. Here, she introduced historically disadvantaged individuals to mainstream agriculture via soft loans while maintaining and growing the traditional book.

Thandeka holds an MSc in Leadership and Change Management from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK and an MPhil in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch.

A member of the National Assembly since 2016, she serves on the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform, and the Committee on Multiparty Women’s Caucus.

Thandeka is passionate about our country and believes undoubtedly that our party is the only one that can, and will, bring an all-embracing positive change to all South Africans in their diversity.

Yusuf Cassim is the Democratic Alliance Students’ Organisation (DASO) federal Leader, a member of Parliament in the Presidency Portfolio and DA Eastern Cape provincial deputy chairperson.

He is a father of three beautiful daughters and was born and bred in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape.

Yusuf studied a BCom Accounting at the Nelson Mandela University and first got involved in politics as a first-year student when he joined and subsequently chaired the Muslim Student Association in 2009.

Yusuf comes from a family of ANC supporters who were actively involved in opposing the apartheid government. He first joined the DA, when he was approached to start a student structure at Nelson Mandela University. At the time he recognised that student governance and aid was an enormous issue – and students didn’t feel empowered to change this. He founded and built the DA structure DASO at NMMU as a vehicle of change.

He was later elected as the DA’s first SRC president at NMMU. After his term as president he was elected as the DA Federal Youth chairperson, where he was instrumental in restructuring and building the DA Youth before completing his term of office, which included serving as the DA Youth interim leader.


National Spokesperson and Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Solly Malatsi, was born in Moduane, Ga-Dikgale, Limpopo. He was raised by his grandfather and aunt after his mother passed away when he was a boy.

“My grandfather was a very special man in my life and in the lives of my siblings. He played a very important role in our lives. Who and where we are today is because of his love for us,” he says.

Solly, 33, serves alongside Refiloe Nt’sekhe, as a spokesperson in our media and communications operation ahead of the 2019 elections.

He has a Bachelor of Administration Degree majoring in Public Administration and Development Studies from the University of Limpopo, and was part of the inaugural class of the DA Young Leaders programme in 2007.

Solly first joined our parliamentary team as a researcher in 2008 after completing his Honours Degree in Political Studies at Wits University.

Solly is a Limpopo Member of Parliament, and previously served as a spokesperson in both the Western Cape Provincial Government and the City of Cape Town.


All information is sourced from the DA’s teamonesouthafrica.co.za website