DA leader Mmusi Maimane will not be the candidate of his party to become Prime Minister of Western Cape after next year's election.
The DA announced the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive Committee (FedEx) on Tuesday, stating that Maimane "decided to reject the request that he should become the DA's candidate for the Premier of the Western Cape", according to a statement from the national spokesman Solly. Malatsi.
"This was a request that required careful consideration and consultation with the relevant party structures, which made the first request to him," Malatsi said.
The DA would announce his candidacy on Sunday, but on Saturday the media was informed that the announcement had been postponed.
Then it turned out that Maimane was considering to stand up and surprised many within the party when the DA had already started a search for a prominent candidate, who interviewed potential candidates.
Those who are against a Maimane for the Western Cape premier campaign claim that it is tacitly acknowledging that the Gauteng party will not win or push the ANC below 50% nationally in the next 2019 elections. This camp contains DA movers and tedders who are generally positive towards Maimane.
The opponents' camp argued that the DA had previously raised its national support when a DA leader ran for Prime Minister of the Western Cape – citing the 2009 and 2014 campaigns when Maimane's predecessor as DA leader Helen Zille Prime Minister of the Western Cape. They say that there is nothing to suggest that these upcoming elections will not be the same.
It seems that the opinion of the former camp holds sway in the FedEx.
"DA's national electoral goals are Mr. Maimane's first priority and the party supports its commitment to building a better South Africa and stronger DA," Malatsi said.
"It is essential that we grow our support across the country to bring about change that a South Africa is building for all, a change based on a commitment to fight corruption, access to real, long-term jobs, South African police force to make it fair and professional, to secure our borders and to speed up delivery to basic services.
"That is our mission, and that is where we have to put our time and effort into the course of this election, a new generation of leaders who can realize the potential of our great country."
Later on Tuesday, the FedEx will meet again to consider which candidate in the Western Cape will be elected as the DA's prime minister in the province.
The front runners are MEC for economic opportunites Alan Winde, DA MP and spokesperson for David Maynier and Western Cape leader and MEC for human settlements Bonginkosi Madikizela.
The DA also announced that the current Western Cape MEC for community safety Dan Plato will take over from Patricia de Lille as mayor of Cape Town.
Plato and the candidate for prime minister will speak to the media on Wednesday to "deliver our vision for both the city of Cape Town and the Western Cape".