Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

The DA has set its sights on Gauteng and the Northern Cape as two strategic provinces in which it wants to increase its support during the 2019 national elections, to become the biggest party in those provinces, as well as to form governments.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane indicated on Saturday following a meeting of the party’s federal executive in Johannesburg that the party would also focus on increasing its majority support in the Western Cape, the only province it governs.

"In addition to this, we plan to substantially increase our percentage of the national votes cast. This means that the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal, the North West and the Eastern Cape will contribute significantly to the growth targets of the party based on our strong structures and electoral performance," Maimane said.

The race to the national elections will start in earnest in June as Parliament goes on recess and parties take to the ground.

Maimane said the DA would go into official campaign mode and would officially launch the national campaign in July 2018. Maimane was endorsed as the party’s presidential candidate at its federal congress in April. He said the party would be launching the campaigns as its premier candidates would be launched across the country.

Makashule Gana, a member of the Gauteng legislature, has already put his hand up to be the DA’s Gauteng premier candidate, and Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela has indicated to Business Day that he would throw his name into the hat to be in the running to become the Western Cape’s premier candidate.

Helen Zille, premier of the province that is hailed as the one with the cleanest audits, will complete her second and final term as premier in 2019 and cannot stand for a third term in terms of the Constitution..

Maimane said: "It is our belief that we field premier candidates in each province who are capable, dedicated and able to speak to voters directly on our plans to bring about real change."

He said the 2019 election was set to be the most hotly contested and competitive national election since 1994.