10 May 2014
Dear DA Colleagues
I am writing to inform you that, after a period of personal introspection, I have decided to take a break from active politics to pursue a master degree at Harvard University. However, I remain a committed member and supporter of the Democratic Alliance.
Looking at this weekâ??s election results, it is clear that the DAâ??s offer to the people of South Africa is increasingly gaining support. The project of growing a national government in waiting, boldly started by Tony Leon and masterfully enhanced by Helen Zille, is on track. Now, more than ever before, it is evident that the DA will form the backbone of the movement – in whatever form it will take – that will win power from the ANC.
There is an abundance of talent in our organization, which reflects the diversity of the people who lent us their votes this week. I am excited about this talent and where it will take our party.
But, I am conscious about my own future, and my personal goal, which is to form part of the team that will lead our country in a direction that will truly fulfill its potential.
In order to do that, I have had to make some radical decisions about my personal development, even if this may disappoint my party and the many South Africans who have supported my rise to the position of DA Parliamentary Leader.
I want to challenge myself to be the best I can be, not just in the South African context, but globally. For now, that means interacting with the worldâ??s best minds about the most cutting-edge public policy ideas. This is the reason that I decided to take up the offer of a place at the Harvard Kennedy School.
When the time is right I will return to South Africa to pursue the goals that I have always set myself, but from which I have now chosen to step aside. I am under no illusions about how difficult this may be, and I expect no favours from the DA in this regard.
I am proud to have served as the DAâ??s Parliamentary Leader since October 2011. I am grateful to my parliamentary colleagues for having elected me to this position and for overwhelmingly supporting me through the period since then. I believe that I was able to inject the dynamism and innovation of youth into this critical role. The successes were heartening and the challenges were humbling.
I led a talented DA caucus that can be proud of its many achievements. Parliament today is a more vibrant institution for debate and holding the government to account than it was three years ago. I will miss it greatly, and I will miss my friends both in the opposition and the government benches.
This is the right decision, and I am hopeful that my supporters in the DA and in South Africa more broadly will see that too.
I will, for now, be cheering the Democratic Alliance from the sidelines, and will be back with new energy and new ideas and I look forward to playing my part in building the future of South Africa.