JOHANNESBURG, April 20 — Mmusi Maimane, the parliamentary leader of the Democartic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s main opposition party, who has announced his candidacy to replace Helen Zille as leader of the party, has expressed confidence that he will be able to become the party’s national leader.
Maimane announced over the weekend that he would accept nomination for the post of party leader after Zille announced the previous Sunday that she would not be standing for re-election as party leader. Zille is also the Premier of West Cape Province, the only province not ruled by South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC).
“I’m in it to win it as they say. I’m going to contest, we are going to run a very strong campaign,” said Maimane on Saturday. As he did not yet know who the other candidates would be, all he could do at the moment was just to focus on his campaign, he added.
The 34-year-old official opposition leader, who hails from Dobsonville, Soweto, entered the public domain in 2011 when he became the DA’s national spokesperson. He held this position until 2014.
In 2011, he was elected to be the opposition party’s Johannesburg mayoral candidate for the 2011 local government elections. He then served as leader of the DA in the Johannesburg City Council until May 2014. Maimane has also held the position of deputy federal chairperson since 2012.
During the 2014 general election, Maimane ran as the DA’s candidate for Gauteng Premier. Shortly after the May elections, he was elected DA parliamentary leader.
Maimane and his wife Natalie, who he married in 2005, live in Johannesburg with their two children Daniel (two) and KG (four). He has three degrees, a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of South Africa, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Witswatersrand, and a Masters in Theology from the University of Wales.