Maimane rules himself out, announces Winde as DA Western Cape premier candidate

DA leader Mmusi Maimane faces a barrage of questions over who’s idea it was for him to potentially stand as the party’s Western Cape premier candidate. Picture: Lulama Zenzile/Gallo Images
DA leader Mmusi Maimane faces a barrage of questions over who’s idea it was for him to potentially stand as the party’s Western Cape premier candidate. Picture: Lulama Zenzile/Gallo Images

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has unveiled MEC Alan Winde as the party’s premier candidate for the Western Cape, while deflecting questions on who it was that “requested” him to stand for the same position.

City Press reported on Sunday that Maimane was considering standing for the top job in the only province which the DA governs.

A number of senior leaders who serve on various structures of the party, including Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela, told City Press that Maimane would be making a tactical error in taking up the job. There were also serious concerns that Maimane would in effect be conceding that the DA had no chance at governing nationally after next year’s general elections.

Madikizela went as far as to say that the move lacked “common sense.”

Maimane said on Wednesday that he informed the DA’s Federal Executive on Tuesday that he would be “declining” the “request” for him to stand as Western Cape premier.

According to the DA’s constitution the party leader may take up any position in the party without going through the internal processes, meaning that Maimane could have unilaterally decided to take up the job if he wanted to.

When asked repeatedly on Wednesday where the request stemmed from, Maimane remained mum.

City Press also reported that insiders close to the process claimed that none of the top three candidates for the premiership – DA MP David Maynier, Madikizela and Winde – had made the cut, prompting Maimane to make the consideration.

READ: Maimane wants to be Western Cape premier

Previously there was talk in the party that Maimane would stand for the premiership candidacy in his home province of Gauteng, but he made way for Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga instead.

Maimane availed himself in 2011 as the mayoral candidate for Johannesburg and as the premier candidate for Gauteng in 2013 but the party was unsuccessful in both bids.

Maimane on Wednesday praised the successful candidate saying that he was the “premier of jobs” referring to his tenure as MEC of economic opportunities in the Western Cape.

“The person elected to the premiership in 2019 will build from an incredible platform of good governance laid by the DA’s team over the last two terms, a team led by Premier Helen Zille. In the last decade she built a capable state in this province that delivers better services, and a better future, for every citizen of this province,” Maimane said.

“In announcing our candidate today, I have no doubt that we have chosen someone who is equal to the task of building on the successes of the past ten years, and speeding up delivery so that we can improve the lives of all the people of the Western Cape.”

Maynier and Madikizela were both present during the unveiling, along with what looked to be a surprise visit by Zille who arrived during the proceedings.

Maimane also formally introduced the new mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato, who will take over from Patricia de Lille at the end of October.

On Winde being a white man, Maimane said he was happy overall with the nine premier candidates chosen to be the faces of the DA campaign in the respective provinces, saying that there were “two white males, two black women and five South Africans.”

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