Mayor Solly Msimanga. Picture: DA
Mayor Solly Msimanga. Picture: DA

Standing against his friend and political ally Makashule Gana as a possible DA Gauteng premier candidate is not a "personal competition", says Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga.

Msimanga is one of nine DA hopefuls who are vying to lead the DA’s campaign to take over the government in Gauteng after the 2019 national elections.

Msimanga’s candidature for the premiership came out of the blue, especially for Gana, who had announced his intention to stand for the position months ago.

In an interview with City Press on Sunday, Gana said he felt "betrayed" by Msimanga, who had told him that he would not stand against him. Both Gana and Msimanga have significant support in Gauteng, but Msimanga is seen as a compromise candidate who already has a strong public profile.

In a DA media briefing on Friday, leader Mmusi Maimane, Msimanga and Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba gave feedback on the anniversary of the 2016 local government elections, which led to the ANC falling below 50% of the electoral support in key metros such as Johannesburg and Tshwane.

Msimanga responded to Gana’s claim of betrayal: "I don’t know what is backstabbing when you are talking to the issues of internal candidacy. Now you are all entitled to avail yourself, and when you are asked to avail yourself, to avail yourself. You cannot say you will not avail yourself because you have a personal relationship with somebody," Msimanga said.

"At the end of the day, what should be the winner is what is for the good of democracy and what is for the good of the province and the party. That should be at the forefront of all decisions that are made relating to whether somebody decides to stand or not to stand," Msimanga said, adding that it was a competition, but not a personal one.

"It should be about who will better represent what the party intends on doing in the upcoming elections, and that is how I’ve been viewing it," Msimanga said.

He said it was important to have total change in the province, and not just in the metros and municipalities.

He used the Western Cape as an example where the DA first had control over Cape Town, after which they took the reigns in the Western Cape as well. He said if a party governed the province and the cities, everything would fall "seamlessly" into place, and that there would be better governance.