Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga. Picture: SOWETAN
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga. Picture: SOWETAN

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga has formally declared his candidacy to stand for the position as DAs federal chairperson, and has officially endorsed DA leader Mmusi Maimane to keep the reins of the party for another term.

The position of federal chairperson is currently held by Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip. It means the two men would go head to head for the position, as Trollip had indicated earlier that he would stand for the position again.

In an earlier interview, Msimanga indicated to Business Day that he planned to take a shot at the position. He said on Friday in a statement that he had been nominated for the position by three provincial leaders.

The DA’s federal congress will take place in April. Msimanga said the upcoming congress was more important than ever, as it had to elect leaders that would work "tirelessly to offer the people of SA an alternative to [a] governing party riddled with corruption and pushing our people further into poverty in blind service to personal self-interest."

He said that given the recent changes in the South African political landscape, it was "equally important that the DA unites following bruising divisions within the party that have played themselves out in the public space".

He said "a regeneration of unity for the DA" was what South Africans needed as an alternative to the ANC.

Msimanga said that having previously been the DA chairperson for the North Gauteng Region and of Gauteng, and currently serving as mayor of Tshwane, he was confident that he was the best candidate to help lead the party into 2019.

He said being mayor also allowed him to successfully engage the challenging party political dynamics that with "relative stability and success having never been subject to a motion of no confidence". Trollip will face a motion of no confidence tabled by the EFF in Nelson Mandela Bay mere days before the congress is to take place.

He said the congress presented an opportunity to elect a national leadership that would work together to take support for the ANC to less than 50% and to win Gauteng without any coalition.