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Solly Msimanga remains ‘bullish’ despite threat of Khume Ramulifho ahead of Gauteng DA leadership battle

Solly Msimanga remains ‘bullish’ despite threat of Khume Ramulifho ahead of Gauteng DA leadership battle
Solly Msimanga (MPL) hands over donations to families of the victims of Boksburg gas tragedy at Angelo Informal Settlement on July 21, 2023 in Boksburg, South Africa. Msimanga is aiming to retain his position as leader of the DA in Gauteng at this weekend's DA provincial congress. (Photo: Gallo Images/OJ Koloti)

Msimanga will be facing tough competition from MPL Ramulifho as he tries to retain his position as leader of the DA in the province.

Incumbent leader of the DA in Gauteng Solly Msimanga says he is “bullish”  about the outcome of the party’s provincial congress on Saturday adding that he has support from across the province. 

“I had engagements which have pledged their support. I took over in 2020, when the party was going through a hard time and we had to rebuild the structures. No one wanted to put up their hand. I am not phased by the little group [of detractors], we want to focus on 2024,” he said. 

This comes as Daily Maverick learnt about a group of party members who have heavily criticised Msimanga and are of the view that he should be replaced by MPL Khume Ramulifho. Speaking to Daily Maverick, a member of the DA in Tshwane said Msimanga has likely blown his chances because of how he has managed the province since being appointed three years ago. 

People are tired of Solly. He had too many scandals but also he chose to centralise power in Tshwane and used it to purge, victimise and bully most of our loyal public reps and activists. Him and his crew only want to surround themselves with your ‘yes sir’. You are not allowed to be objective or else you are subjected to discipline for being against them. Under his leadership, GP came number 8 in the 2021 national elections on the list of DA’s best performers and we have since regressed,” the member lamented. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Solly Msimanga to step down as Tshwane mayor

Another party public representative also noted the incident where  Msimanga was involved in a brawl in Benoni, Gauteng, after being accused of owing people R1.4-million. A video which was making the rounds on social media in 2021 showed Msimanga bleeding from the mouth and head after an apparent physical fight. He is seen calling the police while his alleged assailant requests that he be paid back.

The DA went on to defend Msimanga, saying that he did not owe anyone money. 

Msimanga insists that he has been able to elevate the province despite the many obstacles the party has faced.

“When we started over in 2020 we said we will have an inclusive Provincial Executive Committee, we were praised for having led the party. People who want to personalise everything should instead try supporting the 2024 campaign. I have been in the forefront of coalition talks, no one would have more experience than I do, since 2016 I have been a part of it. We have been doing the best that we can, those who speak about this do not have an appreciation of what is actually happening. Those who want to raise issues do not know what is happening in the late-night meetings,” Msimanga said. 

Solly Msimanga

DA Gauteng Provincial Leader Solly Msimanga. (Photo: Gallo Images/OJ Koloti)

Emfuleni Central Constituency chair Thabo Motsoane and Midvaal Mayor Peter Teixeira have thrown their weight behind Msimanaga, along with the party’s Head of Policy Mathew Cuthbert.

A DA public representative from Tshwane told Daily Maverick that Ramulifho has the most support from his home region of Johannesburg which has the largest delegation at the conference. Tshwane — which is Msimanaga’s — home will have the second largest delegation but with minimal support. The Ekurhuleni region is said to be split between the two candidates. At least 80 delegates from the West Rand are supposed to be supporting Ramulifho while it is believed that Midvaal will also bring about substantial support.

Ramulifho’s support in Joburg plus endorsement comes from influential figures in the party like DA Caucus Leader Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku.

Speaking to Daily Maverick, Ramulifho said he has so far led a very good campaign, even from those who left the party when Mmusi Maimane and other black leaders decided to exit the party.

“I have been receiving support across the board. The people who left the party in 2019 say they will come back if I make it, they will come back. If you look at 2019 we lost three seats in Legislature, 17 seats across Gauteng local Municipalities, under the current leadership.

“We need leaders with integrity, there should be more scandals. We need more black voters to win this programme. We need to reignite the mood on the ground. We need to reach as many voters as possible. We are not really in the townships, the leadership is not there. This point in time, one cannot tell. There has been no provincial campaign initiated by the provincial structure. It is not that we don’t have supporters, we need to keep in touch and communicate with them.”

Ramulifho mentions that it is not impossible for the DA to win a majority of votes in Gauteng.

“Gauteng we can win outright, thinking beyond what we know. I am saying to our DA activists to truthfully reach as many voters as possible. In its current form, they are very unstable. We are all noticing what is going on in Joburg and Ekurhuleni and the people who are suffering are the voters and not politicians,” he said. 

Former Tshwane Speaker Katlego Mathebe will be contesting Fred Nel, the incumbent in the provincial chair contestation. 

Lungile Phenyane will once again contest for a leadership position but this time around she is vying to be the Deputy Provincial Chairperson of the official opposition. She will contest Arthur Mthimunye, Dennis Richard Pogiso Phenyane, Nosipho Radebe as well as Richard Ryder. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    “there should be more scandals.” Freudian slip perhaps in the text. is this something aspiring DA leaders should be encouraging or is the truth coming out at last!

  • Campbell Tyler says:

    Interesting to see two black candidates going up against each other. No comment from the Daily Maverick (Rebecca? Steven?) about the multi-racialism of the DA?

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