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Maimane is positive he’ll emerge victorious

The bruising battle between Wilmot James and Mmusi Maimane must end at midnight tomorrow.

In Port Elizabeth on 8 May 2015, a day before the DA Congress Mmusi Maimane posters line the streets. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

PORT ELIZABETH - Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership contender Mmusi Maimane says he is positive he can emerge victorious from the party's elections this weekend.

The bruising battle between Wilmot James and Maimane must end at midnight tomorrow in terms of party rules.

That leaves time for last-minute lobbying as delegates stream into Port Elizabeth for the party's congress this weekend.

Maimane's campaign team is going all-out to ensure their candidate secures the most votes when more than 1,400 delegates cast their ballots early on Sunday morning.

Whoever wins, the country's biggest opposition party will have its first black leader.

But Maimane is confident he has it in the bag.

"I'm very positive about what's going to happen on Sunday."

His team is leaving nothing to chance.

Maimane's face is on posters leading from the airport into town and about a 1,000 delegates are expected at a braai he's throwing this evening.

"We've been on the ground, we've seen people and I've spoken to people on all nine provinces. And ultimately now the focus must be on that we win on Sunday."

The congress gets underway officially tomorrow.

Meanwhile, as many are focused on who will replace Helen Zille, there is another race that has seen lobbying in the party.

The position of DA chairperson is being hotly contested by three candidates.

The DA leader in Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip, is confident victory is in sight.

"Well, obviously I'm looking to have almost universal support in the Eastern Cape. I have great support in the Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Western Cape very strong and Gauteng. You know Gauteng is not universally behind any one candidate. I plan to get more than 50 percent of the votes in Gauteng."

He's backing Maimane's campaign for party leader.

But Trollip's contender and Member of Parliament, Makashule Gana, has refused to endorse a leadership candidate.

"I'm standing on my own merits and I'm asking delegates to judge me on my own merits not based on which leader I'm supporting "

Western Cape legislature member, Masizole Mnqasela is also vying for the position.