It was my decision not to stand for Western Cape premiership - Maimane

2018-09-19 19:56
Mmusi Maimane (GCIS)

Mmusi Maimane (GCIS)

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DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the decision not to stand as the party's candidate for the Western Cape premiership "wasn't anybody's decision, it was Mmusi Maimane's decision".

Maimane was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday where he announced that Western Cape MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde will be the DA's premier candidate in the province that the party has governed since 2009, with Helen Zille at the helm.

There has been much intrigue surrounding the process of appointing this candidate, as the initial announcement which was planned for Sunday was postponed on Saturday. It then emerged that Maimane was considering standing, taking many within the party by surprise as the DA had already embarked on a search for a premier candidate, interviewing potential candidates.

Winde, DA MP and spokesperson on finance David Maynier and Western Cape DA leader and MEC for human settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela were the frontrunners.

After meetings of the DA's federal executive council, Maimane on Tuesday announced that he "decided to decline" the request for him to stand as the DA's candidate for premier of the Western Cape.

On Wednesday he said a "request" was made for him to stand, but he did not say who made this request.

"In part, the request to me was to increase our vote in the Western Cape," he said. 

He said what persuaded him not to stand in the end was the DA's "national project".

Madikizela was one of those opposed to Maimane being the Western Cape's candidate for premier. 

Madikizela said he was not upset by a Maimane candidacy, but disagreed with it and told Maimane so.

'Full confidence in Winde'

"We have a national project. We cannot have a situation where our most prized possession is only in the Western Cape," Madikizela said.

"I don't want to be arrogant, but we don't have an opposition in the Western Cape."

He said Maimane was the best person to drive the national project. 

Maimane dismissed the notion that he considered standing for the premiership because the other candidates were not strong enough.

"I have full confidence in the candidates. I have full confidence in Alan Winde."

He said the DA had the luxury that its candidates were all excellent.

Separation of party and state

He said Winde emerged at the top after a "rigorous process" where each candidate had to present a plan for the province. According to Maimane, Winde, Maynier and Madikizela each provided an "incredible" plan.

"We were spoilt for choice."

He said fulfilling a certain role within the party did not automatically mean one would get a certain position in government. 

"We want to separate party and state."

Maimane said Winde had the full support of the DA's national leadership team, his fellow candidates, and the provincial leadership team in the province. 

"Our colleague, Bonginkosi Madikizela, was also a candidate for the position and is the provincial leader of the Western Cape. He has pledged his unequivocal support to Alan, and his graciousness is a testament to his calibre as a leader, and to the strength of the DA's processes," Maimane said.

'We must put the party first'

Madikizela said it was human nature to be disappointed, and that he would have voted for himself. Following the announcement, he said he would support Winde.

"Alan is a friend and colleague," he said.

"He needs my support. We must put the party first."

He said the province faced certain challenges for which the leadership needed to take responsibility.

Winde said he and Madikizela had a discussion before the outcome of the selection process and decided that they would support each other. He pointed out that he supported Madikizela in his successful bid to become the provincial leader last year.

Maynier was also in the audience at the announcement. He tweeted his support to Winde.


Read more on:    mmusi maimane

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