The race to become the Democratic Alliance's official candidate for premier of Gauteng has begun in earnest, with one of the party’s members of the provincial legislature, Makashule Gana, launching his bid to try and win over the hearts of voters.
The DA’s Gauteng leader John Moodey, Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga and Midvaal’s Bongani Baloyi joined Gana’s loved ones, including his wife, on Tuesday evening in support of his bid to become the party’s premier candidate.
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Gana launched his bid after the party announced the official start of its candidate selection process ahead of the crucial 2019 general elections. DA members can also apply to become members of Parliament or provincial legislatures during this period.
In a memo sent out by DA executive director of governance Tharina Abell, the party informed members that staffers in provinces have received the necessary training to help candidates apply and that a social media campaign will also be launched.
"I believe that we can and know that we must win Gauteng, which is why I am availing myself to be the Gauteng premier candidate for the DA," Gana announced.
'Ready to scale political mountains'
He said this was a decision 16 years in the making, reflecting on his time in the DA from his youth days, to when he served the party as a councillor in Johannesburg, in the National Assembly, and his current tenure in the Gauteng provincial legislature.
Gana said he believed the various roles he’s taken on, on behalf of the party over the years, have prepared him for the role of premier.
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"I am ready to lead Gauteng. Like a marathon runner... who has trained unceasingly. I am ready to scale the political mountains," he said.
According to some, the DA member – who calls himself a "social liberal" – is likely to go head-to-head with the party’s newly-appointed head of policy.
Gwen Ngwenya has been touted by many as a favourite for some of the party’s influential leaders, however, those not in support of the idea have questioned the young leader’s ability to relate to voters across the various parts of Gauteng.
'Social and cultural systems'
Gana said he wanted to bring ethical leadership to the province, citing the ANC’s fallen heroes – the late former president Nelson Mandela, and stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who passed away last week.
"Mama Winnie’s sacrifice reminds us that the world which so many now take for granted was won by struggle. It is a great source of pride to us that her struggle is so entwined with the story of this province," said Gana.
He also highlighted the many ills which needed attention in the province, known as the country’s economic hub.
"In Gauteng, we are still separated by the circumstances of our birth, the healthcare we receive, the schools our children go to, the careers we pursue, where we worship and even by how, in the end, we die. These social and cultural systems are the connective fibre of our province, and we must work together to change these institutions."
He said 2018 held many obstacles that Gauteng must face, but they had a common thread. Most of these obstacles have their roots in the failure to do as much as people should have done to build a non-racial economy and society.
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