It's not personal, Solly Msimanga says about his premiership candidacy

City of Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga says his decision to stand as a DA candidate for the Gauteng premiership should not be seen as a personal competition.

Msimanga was speaking at the DA's press briefing in Johannesburg on Friday, where the party was giving feedback on the progress it had made since it took over the administrations in Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay.

At the time, a journalist asked for his reaction to a comment from DA MP Makashule Gana that he felt betrayed by Msimanga running as a candidate.

He responded: "When you [are] talking about issues of internal candidacy, you are entitled to avail yourselves, or when you are asked to avail yourself, to therefore avail yourself.

"I cannot say I am not going to avail myself just because I have a personal relationship with someone."

In July, the DA announced its list of candidates nominated for the position of premier in its respective provinces ahead of its 2019 election campaign.

'Betrayal' 

On Sunday, the City Press published an article that stated Gana felt betrayed by Msimanga.

In the article, Gana said his close friend and political ally had given him the assurance that he had no interest in being the DA's premier candidate.

"At a certain level I feel betrayed because he had given me his word that he would not stand, but we have to respect the right of every member to stand for any position. But I had taken his word that he would not be going ahead with the interview with the selection panel. There was that engagement and conversation," Gana said in the article.

READ MORE: Gana: Solly Msimanga betrayed me

But Msimanga said he believed that in the end, the winner should be whoever is "good for democracy and for the good of the people and the party".

"That should be at the forefront of all decisions that are made, relating to whether somebody decides to stand or not to," he said.

Msimanga added that, while it was a competition, it was not a personal one and that running for premier should be about who would best represent the party's intentions for the upcoming elections.

'Momentum loss'

He said he would not be giving any further comment about internal issues of premiership candidacy until somebody was announced.

Msimanga recently also came under fire for being willing to abandon his council caucus in Tshwane to make a play for the top job in the province.

In the article, Gana also said it was difficult to gauge whether or not Msimanga's entering of the race was a blow to his own campaign.

"It is difficult to say because he is not campaigning in any way, but obviously with any additional player in the field, there will be a bit of momentum loss.

"What gives me strength is that many people, when his name was announced, came forward to back my campaign. Insofar as the people that are backing my campaign, I have not seen someone backing down because Solly entered the race. I haven't had that instance," he said.