DA’s Mmusi Maimane to stand as Gauteng premier

Mmusi Maimane has been elected as the DA's Gauteng premier candidate, the party said on Friday.

Maimane, who was born and raised in Dobsonville, Soweto, was one of the Democratic Alliance's three deputy federal chairs, he said in a statement.

The father of two holds a psychology degree and masters degrees in both theology and public and development management.

Maimane was selected over DA Gauteng leader Jack Bloom for the candidacy.

According to the DA, Maimane was instrumental in growing the DA's Johannesburg support from around 20% to 35% when he stood as the city's mayor in the 2011 elections.

He speaks English, Xhosa, isiZulu, Sesotho, Setswana and Sepedi.

Maimane won over DA Gauteng caucus leader Bloom and little-known DA member Vaughan Reineke to become the party's candidate for the commercial heart of South Africa.

Research by political strategist Stan Greenberg on behalf of the DA, which was released in July, found that the ANC is currently polling at 51%. The opposition party believes this shows it has a solid chance to take Gauteng in next year's elections.

"The DA is here to say that we can believe again," had said Maimane after his nomination earlier this month.

"I accepted your nomination because I want to make Gauteng believe again … to make Gauteng believe that everyone can have a chance at success. The 2014 election will be an historic moment. It is an opportunity for us to put Gauteng back on track. It is a chance for us to restore everyone's belief in the dream of 1994.

"What I want to do in Gauteng is simple: I want to stop corruption, stop e-tolls and create many more jobs. If we do that, we will start to make life better for the people of Gauteng.

"We will take the struggle for a better life forward. We will restore people's belief in our future."

Meanwhile, indications are that the ANC, which has run Gauteng since 1994, is deeply divided over who should take the position. Rival factions are engaged in intense battles behind the scenes to push for their candidate.

A faction led by ANC provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile is pushing for provincial secretary David Makhura to replace Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane after the elections, according to a number of provincial leaders in the party. Mashatile's faction led the Forces of Change campaign for President Jacob Zuma to be replaced by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Mokonyane's faction, on the other hand, led Zuma's re-election campaign in 2012.

Her faction is frustrated by the two centres of power and claims that the premier is unable to govern because she has to defer to Mashatile each time she has to make a high-level appointment.

The latest issue of Africa Report quoted the leader of the Gauteng South African Communist Party, Jacob Mamabolo, as saying: "The past five years of having two centres of power has made things complicated in Gauteng.

"We have found that the premier has no power to engage and we are always referred to the chairperson. She is unable to make decisions." – Additional reporting by Charles Molele.

Charles Molele
Guest Author
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