/ 8 April 2018

Msimanga still hopeful for DA national leadership position

Newly elected Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga says he knows all about hardship because he grew up in the bleak streets of one of Pretoria’s oldest townships.
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga. (Delwyn Versamy/M&G)

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga says he believes he has done all he can to persuade Democratic Alliance (DA) members to elect him as the party’s federal chairperson and will be disappointed if he doesn’t bag the position.

Msimanga however has said he did not join the DA for positions and will continue active participation in whatever capacity he can, even if he does not make it to national leadership.

“I will be disappointed if I don’t come in obviously, but I don’t think that takes away from what I’m pushing or what I want to do. It just that it means I won’t have the platform I can use to have a bigger influence. But it doesn’t mean that I leave the party or I go into sunset,” he told the Mail & Guardian.

“I’ve done what I could have done. The team has done exceptionally well and we leave it now to the delegates.”

Msimanga is contesting the position against current federal chair and Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip.

On Sunday morning, thousands of delegates attending the party’s federal congress cast their votes for their preferred leadership collective, which is expected to be announced later this afternoon.

Federal leader Mmusi Maimane as well as federal council chairperson James Selfe are both expected to be elected unopposed.

Earlier in the day, congress rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to include a new position for a deputy leader, who will split the workload with Maimane.

The proposal roused intense debate with those opposing it raising fears that it would create two centres of power and encourage the notion a deputy is automatically entitled to succeed the leader.

Those who pushed it however, including Gauteng legislature members Makashule Gana and Khume Ramulifho, argued the party already has deputy leaders at provincial level, which has not posed problems thus far.

While the proposal has been rejected, the leaders also proposed that the workload among the national leadership be evenly distributed to ensure leaders have their status and presence elevated in order to guard against the DA being a one-man show.