DA leader Mmusi Maimane will have to steel himself against a barrage of criticism as plans to announce him as the premier candidate for the Western Cape get under way.Some within the party are furious at the eleventh-hour move by the party leader to stand for the top job in the only province where the DA governs.Frontrunners who had already gone through the selection process included MP David Maynier, MEC for economic opportunities Alan Winde as well as MEC for Human Settlements and DA provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela.The announcement of the successful applicant was set down for today, but was postponed at midday yesterday.City Press has learnt that the postponement was due to the pushback against Maimane’s decision to stand. According to the DA’s constitution, the party leader is automatically at the top of the list for any position.Maimane’s spokesperson, Portia Adams, confirmed yesterday that the party was discussing the possibility of the leader becoming the premier candidate, but said that it was not a done deal yet.“Yes, the DA federal leader, Mr Maimane, is discussing it. His key consideration is what is best for the DA and for the residents of the Western Cape. He is still considering the matter and is in extensive discussions with party structures. “There are a number of outstanding possible local candidates for this role, and he has reached no final decision as yet. The party’s priority is to ensure that we continue building on the gains of the past decade of government,” Adams said.An insider told City Press that Maimane himself was somewhat conflicted by the move. The insider said none of the candidates who had raised their hands for the position were acceptable to the selection panel as they did not meet the necessary requirements. The party’s internal polls are also said to indicate that Maimane is wildly popular in the province, scoring higher than current premier and former party leader Helen Zille.Among those who are vehemently opposing the move is Madikizela, who told City Press that what Maimane was planning to do did not make sense.“Firstly, we must accept that the federal leader has the right to stand on any list, be it regional, provincial or national. But it must be in line with our strategic objectives, what we want to achieve as the party. “We have made it very clear that we want to get the ANC below 50% [and] we want to win two additional provinces, namely Gauteng and the Northern Cape. “It doesn’t make sense to me that you take your federal leader and make him stand as premier for a province you are already governing. “This is really not about me being a candidate, it is common sense. If the federal leader is worried that there are challenges in the Western Cape, he must assist us to deal with those challenges. “I don’t believe that your federal leader, who should be leading the campaign nationally in terms of our strategic objectives, should then come and be a premier candidate in the province that we run,” Madikizela said.“People are drawing comparisons with Helen [Zille] and saying she did the same thing, but here’s the thing: When Helen became the premier candidate of the Western Cape, the strategic goal of the party was to win the Western Cape. We are now running the Western Cape.“The strategic goal of the party now is to win Gauteng and the Northern Cape, and to get the ANC to below 50%, and that is where the federal leader should be.”It is understood that one of the key considerations about Maimane heading to the Western Cape is for him to gain experience in government, which would assist his bid for the presidency in the future. However, some are concerned that a message of conceding defeat was being sent to voters. Madikizela agreed. “That is the message that we are sending and it is so disappointing.“The ANC is in crisis and it is an opportunity for the opposition party in the country to take the fight to national. But instead of doing that, the federal leader then decides to stand as a premier candidate of a province we are in full control over.”There are already calls in some quarters of the party for Maimane to step down should the party fail to breach the 22% mark nationally, following a series of embarrassing public blunders. Maimane told City Press that he had no plans to step down or to slow down on his plans to transform the party, starting with the Benches of Parliament, where list processes are set to get under way soon.The party will announce its decision on Tuesday. The new mayor for the City of Cape Town will also be revealed. It is understood that the frontrunner, who will take over from Mayor Patricia de Lille next month, is Gauteng MPL Heinrich Cyril Volmink.