DA leader Mmusi Maimane in Cape Town on April 23 2019 with the party's Western Cape and Gauteng premier candidates, Alan Winde and Solly Msimang. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
DA leader Mmusi Maimane in Cape Town on April 23 2019 with the party's Western Cape and Gauteng premier candidates, Alan Winde and Solly Msimang. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

With only two weeks to go before the general elections, there are still unanswered questions about the people voters will actually be electing.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane made this clear by sharply criticising the ANC on Tuesday for failing to release a list of its premier candidates.

“Clearly by hiding and waiting for after the elections, [the ANC has] something to hide,” Maimane said.

“We’ve had the courage to put premier candidates forward. We don’t believe citizens should just blindly follow a party, we don’t believe citizens should just blindly go cast their vote.”

Maimane spoke with eight of the DA premier candidates beside him at the signing of the party’s “Jobs Pledge” in Cape Town. He praised the “diverse” group of premier candidates as experienced and qualified.

“These are South Africans who emerged through a rigorous process,” said Maimane. “We don’t believe public office is an award. The real problem for the ANC is that for them, office is not about competence for the voters. For them, office is a popularity contest within.”

The DA premier candidate for the Western Cape, Alan Winde, also denounced the ANC for failing to inform voters about the candidates in their respective provinces.

“The photograph of Cyril Ramaphosa is up on the posters,” Winde said. “[But] Cyril Ramaphosa is not going to be the person that gets elected into this provincial parliament.”

The ANC is not bound by law to release a list of premier candidates before the elections, as that only applies to candidates for parliament and provincial legislatures. The legislatures elect premiers after the elections.

The DA candidates and Maimane proceeded to sign the “Jobs Pledge,” a 10-point plan for creating jobs following the elections should the party be in power.

The plan includes improving internet access, expanding internship programmes and delegating rail services to each province so they run “properly”.

Maimane challenged the ANC in a follow-up press release to unveil the names of its premier candidates: “Come clean and name your candidates for premier for each of the provinces. If you’re not ashamed of them, and if you don’t intend to sneak in crooks through the back door, make their names public.”

vonoehsens@sundaytimes.co.za