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Maimane’s DA leadership election campaign underway

The DA’s Parliamentary leader formally announced his decision to stand on Saturday.

FILE: Mmusi Maimane.  Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Mmusi Maimane's campaign to become the next leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) is underway.

The DA's Parliamentary leader formally announced his decision to stand on Saturday.

There were loud cheers when Maimane informed delegates at the DA's Western Cape congress that he was willing to pick up the baton handed over by outgoing leader Helen Zille.

With three short weeks to go before the DA's leadership elections, Maimane has a head-start on any contenders.

"I'm in it to win it, as they say; I'm going to contest hard. We're going to run a very strong campaign."

Maimane is seen as a favourite to succeed Zille and already has the backing of Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip, who is running for the post of party chairman.

But Maimane will need to win a contest to avoid accusations that he's simply been handed the leadership on a plate.

A challenge is expected from either DA Gauteng leader John Moodey or current chairperson Wilmot James.

'EFF NOT AN EFFECTIVE OPPOSITION PARTY'

Yesterday, Maimane said the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is not effective as an opposition party.

Maimane addressed an enthusiastic group of more than 1,000 delegates from across the Western Cape in the party's Provincial Congress, where Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille was elected as the new DA leader in province.

Delegates chose new provincial leaders for the country's main opposition party.

Maimane said he's not losing sleep over the EFF possibly overshadowing the DA.

He said he's confident that his campaign for provincial leader will not be affected by the EFF.

"People who say we've been overshadowed by the EFF have a very strong interest in theatrics. They thrive on a chaotic Parliament and not a strong and working Parliament."

Maimane described his campaign leading up to the federal congress next month as "short and sharp".

He believes he has what it takes to take the party to even greater heights than his predecessors.

LISTEN: DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane announces his intention to campaign for Helen Zille's spot as leader of the official opposition party.

MAIMANE NOT OVERLY CONFIDENT ABOUT HIS CHANCES

Maimane plans on instilling a new value system if elected as party leader next month.

The DA Parliamentary leader may be the number one favourite for the position of the party's top leadership, but he says he's not overly confident about his chances.

Maimane paid tribute to Helen Zille for her contribution to the DA.

"Helen led the DA with selflessness and devotion, setting an example for all politicians that leadership should always be about the people."

He said he will build on what his predecessors have done and will also improve the party's national standing.

Maimane is planning to inject a new value system that transcends all racial borders.