DA leader Mmusi Maimane. File photo: ANA
Cape Town - DA Leader Mmusi Maimane has ditched his plan to become Western Cape premier in next year’s national elections.

Maimane is said to have withdrawn a nomination to become the province’s number one citizen, although initial reports said that he imposed himself on the DA for the position.

The party’s federal executive (FedEx) met in Cape Town on Tuesday to deliberate on candidates for premier.

Party spokesperson Solly Malatsi said: “Mmusi Maimane informed FedEx that he has decided to decline the request for him to stand as the DA’s candidate for premier of the Western Cape.

“This was a request that required careful consideration and consultation with the relevant party structures which made the initial request to him.”

Political analyst Keith Gottschalk said it was the best decision Maimane could have taken.

“It would have caused some serious problems for the DA. One cannot have a national leader serving as a provincial premier. We also saw earlier in the year that the DA moved its headquarters to Johannesburg. So why would such a party leader want to govern in the Western Cape? It does not make sense,” he said.

Gottschalk also said Maimane’s profile in the Western Cape was weaker.

“Your profile is greater when you at national level.

You cannot at all compete with the national ANC if you are in one province and limit yourself to that province only,” he said.

DA Western Cape leader Bonginkosi Madikizela would not be drawn on the race but, according to sources, he will be sidelined to make way for seasoned politician Alan Winde who was scored the highest during the panel interviews.

The FedEx was in a meeting till late on Tuesday.

Madikizela was touted as the favoured candidate to take over from current premier Helen Zille because he was the provincial leader and seen as a close ally of Zille. But several sources in the DA said the simmering divisions within the party and governance problems in municipalities such as George, Knysna and the City of Cape Town have weakened Madikizela’s support and led to his leadership capabilities being questioned.

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Cape Argus