Gauteng MPL and former DA youth leader, Makashule Gana, yesterday joined the race to replace Mmusi Maimane as party leader.
Gana posted his announcement on social media yesterday afternoon just a few minutes before the closure of nominations.
“After some reflections of what has been going on in the past few days and running, I have today accepted nomination for the position of [DA] interim federal leader. I am answering to the call of our activists across the country,” he noted.
His announcement came just a few hours after his close ally and Gauteng DA education spokesperson, Khume Rhamulifho, announced on Twitter he would be standing as federal chairperson.
Gana’s candidacy comes just a few weeks after he was elected as the chairperson of the DA’s MPL Network, a structure that represents members of the provincial legislatures and National Council of Provinces.
He will go head to head with DA parliamentary leader, John Steenhuisen, for the hotly contested position at the party’s federal council meeting scheduled for November 17.
When contacted yesterday, Gana could not say if he had any of the party leaders who backed his candidacy, only saying “the hard work begins now”.
His last public campaign in the DA was for the party’s Gauteng premier candidate but he was beaten to the position by then City of Tshwane mayor, Solly Msimanga.
In his resignation speech last week, Maimane said he truly enjoyed campaigning for the DA and worked hard to restore the dignity of the poor.
He said he was proud of cementing diversity as one of the DA’s core values.
“We fought many battles … I want to say I fought many battles, even with Helen Zille … we certainly maintained respect,” said Maimane.
“However, the past few months, it’s become more and more clear … there are a few in the DA who do not see eye to eye with me,” he claimed.
In recent months, there had been a “consistent and co-ordinated attack” against him and his family, said Maimane.
“There does come a time when leaders need to step back … I’ve spent the last few days doing exactly that … Therefore it is with great sadness … I will today step down as leader of the DA.”
Maimane thanked those who had supported him and urged South Africans not to lose sight of the bigger picture: a democratic and united country.
Maimane swept into the post amid high expectations in May 2015, becoming the party’s first black leader. -Timeslive