Mmusi withdraws candidacy for Western Cape premier

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane. File photo.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times / Waldo Swiegers

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has withdrawn his candidacy for premier of the Western Cape.

The Democratic Alliance announced on Tuesday that Maimane had informed the party's Federal Executive (FedEx)‚ which met in Cape Town‚ that he had decided to decline the request for him to stand as the DA’s candidate for premier of the Western Cape.

"This was a request that required careful consideration and consultation with the relevant party structures which made the initial request to him‚" said party spokesperson Solly Malatsi in a statement.

Malatsi said the FedEx would meet again later on Tuesday to consider which candidate in the Western Cape would be selected as the DA’s candidate for premier in the province. The party would announce the successful candidate on Wednesday.

Meanwhile‚ Community Safety MEC Dan Plato will be the next Mayor of Cape Town‚ returning to an office he occupied for two years between May 2009 and June 2011.

Malatsi said the party's selection panel for the mayoralty of Cape Town had recommended Plato following an interview process and that its decision had been ratified by FedEx on Tuesday morning.

Plato will succeed Patricia de Lille who is leaving the mayoral office at the end of October following a prolonged internal battle with the DA‚ which at times called for the intervention of the courts.

Maimane's candidacy for Western Cape premier had raised eyebrows inside and outside the DA.

None was more scathing in his criticism of the party leader than the current provincial leader of the DA‚ Bonginkosi Madikizela‚ who questioned the wisdom of Maimane standing in the province already governed by the DA instead of focusing on getting the ANC below 50% in next year's elections.

“Firstly‚ the federal leader in terms of the constitution has the right to stand on any list ... We are in government in the Western Cape. We might be experiencing some challenges but we are not going to lose Western Cape‚ I am saying that with confidence because‚ besides the challenges that we have‚ the opposition has its own challenges‚” said Madikizela.

“Strategically as the party ... the next target is Gauteng and the Northern Cape ...I find it strange that the federal leader would abandon the national project‚ because remember we have a national project to get the ANC below 50%‚ but also if the target is to win two extra provinces‚ you would expect the federal leader who believes that he has a profile that is better than us - and that is true - could have made himself available in one of those two provinces.

“I must be honest‚ I find it strange that the federal leader would make himself available in a province that we are governing. I have made those views very clear and known to him‚” said Madikizela on Saturday.

According to DA sources‚ Madikizela was in the top three of those the party was considering for Western Cape premier candidacy‚ behind Alan Winde and David Maynier.

In its statement on Tuesday‚ the party said its national electoral objectives stood as Maimane’s number one priority‚ and the party stood behind his commitment to build a better South Africa and stronger DA.

"It is essential that we grow our support across the country in order to bring change that builds One South Africa for All."

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