Natasha Marrian Financial Mail deputy editor & columnist

Mmusi Maimane is contesting his first national elections as the leader of the official opposition, the DA, and the stakes could not be higher for the 38-year-old. Maimane has grown politically since his rise to the party’s top job in May 2015. He is seasoned, saying SA is in crisis. From his inaugural political contest as the party’s 2011 Johannesburg mayoral candidate to his current second term as leader, he has faced a gruelling local government election and the messy coalitions that followed — as well as unprecedented infighting in the party centered on its former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. De Lille has since formed the DA’s first splinter party, Good, which is also contesting the upcoming polls. While he was relatively new to the post in 2016, the DA’s performance was seen as a test of his leadership that on the surface he appeared to have passed with flying colours, given the party’s snatching of three key metros from the ANC — Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and the big pr...

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