Maimane for mayor?

2014-11-09 17:54
Mmusi Maimane (Picture: Beeld)

Mmusi Maimane (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The DA’s parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, is considering throwing his hat in the ring as the party’s mayoral candidate for Johannesburg in 2016, City Press reports.

Three party leaders said the story was doing the rounds, especially in the party’s Joburg caucus.

Another member with close links to the party said: “Rumours are circulating that he wants to run, or at least is interested in running.”

If he does enter the race, it will be for the second time. In 2011, he was the party’s mayoral candidate for Joburg, but lost out when the ANC took the city in the local government elections.

He became an MP after the May elections and was subsequently elected caucus leader.

Maimane, however, said: “I haven’t even given it any thought. We have an important role to fulfil in Parliament.”

The party’s nominations for mayoral candidates in the major metros are due to take place early next year.

Despite official denials that the mayoral selection process has started, a party leader in Gauteng confirmed that early lobbying was under way.

“Nobody has come out at this time, but you can feel the atmosphere between certain groups who feel it is time to contest and they should be putting forward a candidate. Quite frankly, it is a healthy process,” the leader said. “We are not short of leadership in the province.”

Another name that’s being bandied about is that of party newcomer Herman Mashaba, who is considered to be a candidate with “gravitas” by party leaders polled by City Press. He has confirmed that “many people are asking me to join the political field”.

He said the rumours about him becoming a mayoral candidate have been flying around ever since he announced publicly that he would be joining the DA.

He has, however, denied that he was thinking of standing. “I don’t think I’m ready at this point in time. I would be a stupid politician. But one thing is for sure. I am committed and will do everything possible to help the DA in campaigns as a card-carrying member, but not as an official.”

Two DA sources polled said Joburg caucus leader Vasco da Gama should also be considered as a candidate.

Strong hopes

The DA has strong hopes of taking the City of Johannesburg from the ANC in 2016 – the governing party’s support in Gauteng dropped drastically to just more than 50% in the general elections earlier this year.

Planning for the local government elections is set to dominate the party’s Gauteng congress at Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg on 22 November.

Party members will be electing new provincial leaders, where current Gauteng leader John Moodey is widely expected to beat his surprise challenger, MPL Refiloe Ntsekhe.

Gauteng provincial chair Mike Moriarty is set to be replaced by MPL Solly Msimang, who is the party’s leader in Tshwane and the only person nominated for the position.

Moriarty has announced that he will step down after four years in the position and almost a decade in the leadership.

“I feel I have done everything I needed and was able to do. It is time for a new perspective and a younger person, and it is time to take the party to the next generation,” he said.

Moodey said his campaign for re-election would be based on his track record in the party and the fact that it needed to build on the successes it had achieved with him at the helm.

“Now it is about regrouping, and strengthening our resources and manpower, and to fight the new battle that is the local government elections,” he said.

Ntsekhe said her campaign slogan for the provincial leadership would be “fresh thinking to win 2016”.

She said as a former corporate brand manager, she knew how branding worked and how the party should be rebranded to “attract new markets”.

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  politics

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