Maimane to contest DA leadership race

DA parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane. (Jaco Marais, Gallo)

DA parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane. (Jaco Marais, Gallo)

“It has not been an easy decision,” Maimane said in a letter sent to the DA’s public representatives on Saturday morning.

“I have thought long and hard about what it means for my young family. And I have had to consider whether the timing is right.

“In the end, I decided to accept this nomination because it is a unique opportunity to restore hope in the nation’s future,” he said.

The announcement comes a week after current party leader Helen Zille announced that she would not be standing for re-election at the party’s federal conference next month.

Maimane was mum on whether he was considering standing for the position at the time of the announcement, despite speculation that he would be the front-runner for the job. 

In the letter, Maimane said the future of the country depended on the DA.

He said the next task was to take the DA to the next level.

“We need to build on the successes of those who went before us by becoming a party that can challenge for power on the national stage.

“This is my offer to you: A stronger DA for a better South Africa. Together, we can grow and we can win,” Maimane said at the end of his letter. 

Who is Mmusi Maimane?
The 34-year-old Maimane hails from Dobsonville, Soweto.
He entered the public domain in 2011 when he became the DA’s national spokesperson.

In 2011, he was elected to be the opposition party’s Johannesburg mayoral candidate for the 2011 local government elections.

He then served as leader of the DA in the Johannesburg city council until May 2014.

Maimane has also held the position of deputy federal chairperson since 2012.

He ran as the DA’s candidate for Gauteng premier during the 2014 general elections. 

Shortly after the May elections, he was elected DA parliamentary leader.

Paradigm shift
Maimane and his wife Natalie, who he married in 2005, live in Johannesburg with their two children Daniel (2) and KG (4).

He has three degrees - a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of South Africa, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Witswatersrand, and a Masters in Theology from the University of Wales.

Maimane has been tipped to be front-runner to take over the leadership reigns of the DA from Zille.

If Maimane wins the leadership race the country may see a paradigm shift from the perception that the DA is largely supported by a white middle-class electorate.

The DA is holding its federal congress next month in Port Elizabeth.

Nominations for leadership positions close on April 24. –News24

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