Natasha Marrian Political editor: Business Day
The DA’s Makashule Gana. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/SIMON MATHEBULA.
The DA’s Makashule Gana. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES/SIMON MATHEBULA.

Two days after the end of its national elective conference, the DA seems to be back in election mode again, as candidates start to jostle for the plum candidacy of Gauteng premier.

Gauteng is set to be hotly contested in the 2019 election, with the DA aiming to wrestle it away from the ANC. Some political analysts have said the DA stands a good chance of consolidating its 2016 electoral gains by taking the province from the governing ANC.

The DA already runs three metros in the province, courtesy of coalitions with a number of smaller parties.

The ANC, however, will not simply roll over and play dead.

The election of Cyril Ramaphosa as party and country president has seen its political fortunes revived following his promises to fight corruption and improve governance.

At the same time the departure of former president Jacob Zuma is likely to improve the ANC’s support in the largely urban province.

There is likely to be intense contestation within the DA for the post of premier candidate for the province.

Gauteng MPL Makashule Gana announced on Monday evening that he was in the running for the post.

There was talk in the DA that leader Mmusi Maimane may be in the running as the opposition party’s candidate. However, at the party congress over the weekend, Maimane was announced as the DA’s "presidential candidate" for 2019.

Other leaders rumoured to be in the running for the Gauteng premiership include party policy chief Gwen Ngwenya, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba and his Tshwane counterpart, Solly Msimanga.

While the DA was understood to have conducted research on potential premier candidates, the selection process for candidates had not yet started. It includes interviews by the party’s top brass.

Speaking at the Glenvista Country Club, Gana, a former DA youth leader, said: "I am a social liberal through and through. The DA is forever imprinted in my political DNA. I am ready to deliver a famous victory — not for me, but for the voiceless majority of Gauteng, who have been marginalised and ignored for far too long."

Gana said the dream of a non-racial SA lived on despite the storm threatening to engulf the country. He said his own political story was "sharpened" by the daily injustices of apartheid, as much as it was by the "triumph of the human spirit" to overcome this.

He hailed the late ANC struggle veteran, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, saying her fight for freedom with the "fierce urge-ncy of now" should be reignited.

"I entered politics to help pull down South Africa’s walls of Jericho: the social and economic legacy of apartheid.

"I took up the good fight to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all her people — for the many and not just the few," Gana said.

He said the pace of change in SA was too slow and in many ways, the country was regressing. "Old trends can be like the power of the river, when we stop moving forwards, the current pulls us backwards. It is our job to never relax back into old habits and to keep pushing forward," Gana said.