Solly Msimanga will lead 'central battleground' of Gauteng - DA

Solly Msimanga will lead the "battleground" of Gauteng in the 2019 elections with integrity and expertise, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday as Msimanga was announced as the party's candidate for premier.

"Gauteng will be a central battleground in the election campaign next year and we are confident that Solly will lead a team that will bring the change the people of Gauteng deserve," Maimane said at a media briefing in Bruma, Johannesburg, about the selection of Msimanga, who currently serves as the mayor of Tshwane.

"Solly possesses the experience, temperament, integrity and expertise to lead the DA to victory in Gauteng."

The announcement of Msimanga as candidate for the Gauteng premiership follows a two-day sitting of the DA’s Federal Executive.

Maimane described the selection process as "competitive and rigorous".

He said that Msimanga represented "a new generation of leaders in the DA – young, charismatic, articulate, competent, and wholeheartedly committed to improving the lives of South Africans, particularly people oppressed by unemployment and poverty".

'Listening tour'

Describing his nomination as a "great honour", Msimanga said that he was proud to be a "son of this great province".

"Gauteng is the economic hub that powers South Africa. It is a great province with the potential to be a thriving centre of economic growth and prosperity for our people."

Yet, he said, Gauteng was currently on the "wrong" path.

Instead, Msimanga pledged, some of the areas he would focus on improving include fighting corruption in terms of public money spent in the province, as well as to ensure police services were "honest and professional".

Job creation and the speeding up of service delivery were also key, as was the fight against "the scourge of drug abuse".

On Thursday, Msimanga will start visiting various parts of the province as part of a "listening tour" that will let him "find out from the people as to the issues that we need to focus on and fix".

Msimanga, a member of the DA for 14 years, previously served in the Gauteng Legislature, as well as being the party’s Gauteng chairperson.