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

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga's resignation from the post comes as he plans to focus solely on winning Gauteng for the DA. 

Gauteng is one of the DA's strategic provinces in which it hopes to force the ANC below 50% of the support. The party then wants Msimanga to be installed as its first premier. 

Msimanga made the announcement on Friday in which he said his resignation as mayor would be finalised within the next two weeks. 

He told journalists at a media briefing at the DA's headquarters in Johannesburg that the intention was to elect a new mayor at a council meeting in February. 

His resignation makes him the third DA mayor of a metro that will not complete his or her term of office following the 2016 local government elections, after former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip was removed through a motion of no confidence, and former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille finally resigned after a protracted battle with the DA.

Only Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba will remain of the four mayors who took office in 2016, after Msimanga's resignation officially kicks in. 

Msimanga has been juggling the campaign trail with being head of the executive in the capital city which has seen an extremely turbulent past year as tension between the mayor and city manager Moeketsi Mosola reached breaking point. 

On Friday he said he wanted to assure the residents of Tshwane that the DA would work to ensure a seamless transition.

"I have every confidence that the DA will put forward an outstanding candidate who will carry on with the hard work of rebuilding the City and delivering on our manifesto commitments,' Msimanga said. 

The new mayoral candidate the DA puts forward will not only have to pass the scrutiny of the DA's coalition partners, but also  metro's kingmakers, the EFF. 

Msimanga was elected mayor of the coalition government with the additional vote of the EFF in August 2016. 

"I am hopeful in particular that the EFF will support our mayoral candidate, as they face a clear choice — continue to root out corruption and improve service provision, or hand power back to the corrupt ANC," Msimanga said. 

He said he was asked by the DA's federal executive to resign given the amount of resources and time that needed to go into the campaign. 

DA Gauteng chair Mike Moriarty said it was “doable” for the DA to take Gauteng in the elections with Msimanga as head of the campaign.