DA leader Mmusi Maimane during the debate in parliament
The allegations come amid an intense race in Gauteng which has nine applicants, the highest of all the provinces.
But the names of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and the party’s Deputy Federal Chair, Refiloe Ntsekhe, have raised some eyebrows.
Ntsekhe, the most senior of the nine applicants, is also a member of the selection panel that interviews provincial premiership candidates.
“When the discussion around premier candidates come up, I will recuse myself,” she said.
Msimanga’s application too came as a surprise.
The Tshwane mayor previously stated he had no intentions of leaving the mayoral seat.
There’s been speculation that the DA’s national leadership had lobbied candidates to contest Makashule Gana, who had been seen as the front-runner.
Maimane is rubbishing these claims.
“In any other party these things are secretive, these things are decided in backrooms, in the DA we make it public and you know up front.
"So how can we manipulate something that is as transparent as this?" he asked.
The panel interviews in Gauteng are set to take place next week.