Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane is officially on the campaign trail, and the party’s Western Cape provincial congress was his first stop in the leadership race to the top post.
Hours after sending a letter announcing his candidacy to fill Helen Zille’s post to the DA’s public representatives, the deputy federal chairperson sent the congress into frenzy on Saturday morning when he mentioned he had entered the leadership race.
While Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, Maimane, who has his own personal pulpit with his face on it which is sure to travel with him during his campaign, said he had decided to run because he had a vision for the party.
“That vision is non-racial, non-sexist. It is a vision that says we must build an inclusive economy and a prosperous one. We must advance the gains of our freedom to make sure that more people are included, and so the goal and the objectives are to build on that.
“It is to say the DA is a project that must succeed and build on the legacy of many predecessor leaders, Tony Leon, Helen Zille going forward. I believe that as part of my candidacy we will be able to take that forward. To advance the DA not only in this particular province but in provinces across the country and make sure without fail, we can be the government in South Africa,” he said on the sidelines after delivering his speech at the congress.
He said while others were competing for a better yesterday, he was fighting for a better future.
Contesting for the future
“Our history in South Africa is important, but what cannot be underscored is we must contest for the future. And what is going to be different is that we are going to communicate that message, we are going to make sure that more and more people who share our values understand that in all communities, I want to strengthen our level of activism to make sure more people on the ground in the DA communicate our values [better].
“So what has got to be important is that we need to remind South Africans, particularly my generation, that our contestation is about South Africa tomorrow and we must build different tomorrow, and that’s the work that I’ll be doing.”
Maimane is confident that he will come out the victor in the race, and will be visiting all nine provinces in the two weeks to drum up support.
Since Zille announced she would not be running for party president last Sunday, Maimane’s name has been the only one mentioned as Zille’s possible successor, with rumours that outgoing Western Cape provincial leader Wilmot James and Gauteng’s John Moodey would also run for the post.
Maimane said he was planning to run a very strong campaign, and wanted to get ahead of any other candidates.
“I don’t know who the other candidates will be but I have to get before any other candidates, get to as many people as possible to communicate my candidacy.”
He said he had called Zille to let her know of his plans the same time he let the rest of the public representatives know, and he had taken a week to announce his candidacy because he had wanted to make sure it was the right decision for him and his family.