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Maimane relishes landslide victory

According to the numbers, Mmusi Maimane won after 89.9% of vote went in his favour.

FILE: New DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

PORT ELIZABETH - Mmusi Maimane became the new leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) with the support of nearly 90 percent of the votes from delegates at the DA's congress at the weekend.

In his victory speech, he was quick to call for party unity after an at times acrimonious campaign against his opponent, party veteran Wilmot James.

Maimane's campaign team said he secured 89.9 percent of the votes cast by 1,244 delegates at the DA's watershed congress.

During his inaugural speech as party leader, Maimane called for unity.

"That's what makes us different from other parties. We contest elections and when they are over, we work together to fight our real enemies and our real enemies are poverty, unemployment and inequality."

Hundreds of delegates erupted in shrieks of delight, whistling and cheering as they celebrated Maimane's victory.

A beaming Maimane joined the rest of the party's newly elected leadership on stage as confetti rained down and fireworks lit up the venue.

Maimane told cheering delegates the campaign for next year's local government election starts now.

Eastern Cape DA leader Athol Trollip was elected party chairperson, defeating Member of Parliament Makashule Gana and member of the provincial legislature Masizole Mnqasela.

Maimane will lead the party and will retain his position as parliamentary leader.

Maimane used his inaugural speech to send a message to President Jacob Zuma saying he will have his day in court.

The DA has been involved in a lengthy legal battle over the so called spy tapes, which formed the basis for the National Prosecuting Authority's decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma back in 2009.

He said the party must defend the Constitution at all costs.

He says no one is above the law and no political party has the divine right to govern.

The newly elected leader of the DA has also warned delegates that there is no room in the official opposition party for those who try to divide or mobilise around race.

"If we all work together as a team, and I know that we will emerge out of this congress strong and united."

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