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First On EWN: Wilmot James expected to run for DA leadership

Eyewitness News understands that James will declare his candidacy later this morning.

Wilmot James (L) and Mmusi Maimane (R) both intend on competing for Helen Zille's spot as leader of the Democratic Alliance. Picture: @Mabine_Seabe

CAPE TOWN - Eyewitness News can this morning reveal that the battle for the leadership of the Democratic Alliance (DA) is set to become a two-horse race.

Eyewitness News understands that outgoing party chairperson, Wilmot James, is expected to announce his decision to stand later this morning.

He'll be going head to head with DA Parliamentary Leader Mmusi Maimane, who announced his candidacy last weekend.

The leadership race was triggered by Helen Zille's recent shock decision to step down as party leader.

The deadline for nominations for DA leadership positions is at 5pm today, leaving just over two weeks for campaigning before the party's Federal Congress on 9 May.

This is all Wilmot James has so far been prepared to say about challenging Maimane for the DA leadership:

"I'm seriously considering standing, very seriously. Presently I'm just still consulting, still talking to colleagues and friends. this is a big thing."

Eyewitness News understands that James will declare his candidacy later this morning.

He's set to emerge as the only credible contender in what could turn into a bruising battle to fill Zille's shoes.

Seen as the favourite, the charismatic Maimane's campaign already has momentum.

But some in the party question his youth and compared to James, his relative inexperience.