DA leader Mmusi Maimane congratulates Eastern Cape provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga. Picture: Mmmusi Maimane/Twitter

East London - The DA's Eastern Cape provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga has been picked as the party's premier candidate for the Eastern Cape ahead of next year's elections. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Bhanga was the ideal candidate to lead the party’s message in the province. 

"He will speak to thousands of people young and old, black and white, in cities, towns and rural areas, about what they want from a government, and what the DA can offer them," said Maimane. 

With the 2019 elections being dubbed as likely to be the most contested, Maimane said the DA was eyeing this province, which is currently run by the ANC, as a possible win for the party. 

"As we have seen in recent elections, and particularly in the 2016 local government elections, what happens in the Eastern Cape is of major significance in the country as a whole.

"The ramifications of what happened in Nelson Mandela Bay – where the ANC was unseated by a DA-led coalition in 2016 – continue to reverberate throughout our country, and the recent attempt by the ANC/EFF alliance to steal back the city is a testament to the high stakes involved here," said Maimane. 

Nqaba has a short history with the DA having joined the party in 2014 after defecting from the Congress of the People (Cope). 

The 41-year-old has previously served as a member of Parliament under Cope. 

"I have full confidence in Nqaba Bhanga to not only deliver this message of change to the people of this great province but also to run the Eastern Cape as a Premier who cares, who understands the challenges our people face here and who can lead a dynamic DA team that will bring total change here," said Maimane. 

Nqaba is the second premier candidate the party has announced in recent weeks. Solly Msimanga was chosen as the party's premier candidate for Gauteng, a "battleground" province which the DA is also aiming to wrestle control from the ANC. 

* This story forms part of the #HighSchoolsQuiz study material. Click here for more #HighSchoolsQuiz stories.