CAPE TOWN - Mmusi Maimane on Saturday morning announced that he will run for the position of Democratic Alliance leader.
The 34-year-old DA parliamentary leader did so in a letter sent to all public representatives of the party.
“I am writing to let you know that I have accepted nomination to stand as the Federal Leader of the Democratic Alliance,” Maimane wrote.
He said it had not been an easy decision to stand to succeed Helen Zille when she steps down in May but believed he had been handed a unique opportunity to seek to restore hope in South Africa’s future.
“It has not been an easy decision. I have thought long and hard about what it means for my young family. And I have had to consider whether the timing is right.
“In the end, I decided to accept this nomination because it is a unique opportunity to restore hope in our nation’s future.”
If he wins, Maimane will be the first black leader of the party and will inherit the challenge of growing its support base in African communities.
He said South Africa needed a non-racial party to committed to fighting poverty and creating jobs.
“Our country’s future depends on the success of the Democratic Alliance.
“Now, more than ever, South Africa needs a strong non-racial party committed to protecting our constitution and eradicating the legacy of apartheid.
“The DA has come a long way in the last twenty years… We have become the most diverse party in South Africa. And we have shown that we can change peoples’ lives by governing effectively.”
Maimane is considered the clear favourite to succeed Zille, though he only entered formal politics four years ago, and is the first contender to announce his candidacy
The DA will elect is new leader at its federal congress on May 9. The party is due to announce the names of all candidates contesting the post on Monday.
It extended the deadline for nominations by four days following Zille’s sudden decision a week ago not to seek re-election, a move that caught many in the party by surprise and has sparked speculation that she was pushed to quit.
Zille has led the DA for eight years.
Maimane announced his decision shortly before the start of the party’s Western Cape provincial congress. He was due to make a speech to delegates at 10am.
African News Agency