Gana: Solly Msimanga betrayed me

2018-07-29 12:01
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga speaking to News24 (Karabo Ngoepe, News24).

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga speaking to News24 (Karabo Ngoepe, News24).

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Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga (pictured) is facing a revolt over his decision to stand as a DA premier candidate, while being labelled a traitor by those close to him.

Speaking to City Press this week, DA MP Makashule Gana said he felt a level of betrayal by his close friend and political ally, who had given him the assurance that he had no interest in being the DA’s premier candidate.

Gana started campaigning last year and believed that he had the support of Msimanga and other leaders in the province.

“At a certain level I feel betrayed because he had given me his word that he would not stand, but we have to respect the right of every member to stand for any position. But I had taken his word that he would not be going ahead with the interview with the selection panel. There was that engagement and conversation,” he said.

Msimanga has also come under fire for being willing to abandon his council caucus in Tshwane to make a play for the top job in the province.

City Press understands that the so-called black caucus within the party is furious with Msimanga, who blind-sided them with an eleventh hour nomination for the candidacy after the group had collectively agreed to throw its weight behind Gana.

Members from the caucus say Msimanga backtracked on his decision to stand and told them that he would not proceed with the interview with the selection panel, just two days before he went ahead with the interview.

Some in the group say they met with Msimanga, who told them that he felt pressure to stand because senior party leaders had approached him saying he was needed to win the province for the party.

“He told us that he had been told that he polled the highest of three candidates, including himself, Gana and [Herman] Mashaba. So basically they were saying to him that the DA has the highest prospects of success with him at the helm and they had the figures to prove it.”

Gana said it was difficult to gauge whether or not Msimanga’s entering the race was a blow to his own campaign.

“It is difficult to say because he is not campaigning in any way, but obviously with any additional player in the field there will be a bit of momentum loss. What gives me strength is that many people, when his name was announced, came forward to back my campaign. Insofar as the people that are backing my campaign, I have not seen someone backing down because Solly entered the race. I haven’t had that instance.

“If you ask leaders of Gauteng where they stand, many are still behind me, so I am still hopeful.”

Gana emphasized that the DA needed to not only maintain, but also grow its supporter base at the polls next year.

That can only be achieved by breaking the ANC stronghold in major townships in the province.

“We need growth, I am focused on Soweto, where we need to grow by 100%. The same is true for places like Tembisa, Mamelodi, Soshanguve, Kagiso and so forth because that is where the growth is going to come from.

“You need to be available to run the campaign, but also to motivate and inspire the activists on the ground,” he said, seemingly hinting at Msimanga’s commitments as executive mayor in the city of Tshwane.

A DA leader close to Msimanga told City Press that Msimanga was being set up to fail.

“Already there are questions around who will look after the city in his absence. There has to be an acting mayor and chances are it will be a white chap who will act. There are also concerns around the coalition agreement, the one guy everyone agreed on is now running off to pursue power elsewhere. He will be the biggest loser in the end,” the leader said.

Insiders also expressed panic over the volatile agreement in Tshwane with the Economic Freedom Fighters, who they say could pull the trigger on the arrangement that enables the DA to lead the Tshwane government.

Msimanga was unavailable to comment.

Read more on:    da  |  makashule gana  |  solly msimanga

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