The DA has announced its Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, as its premier candidate for the province ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Last year Bhanga, former member of Cope, was elected DA Eastern Cape leader replacing recently ousted Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said during the announcement of Bhanga’s premier candidacy that nominating him to run for premier had been an easy decision because of how he had excelled as a DA provincial leader.
Maimane said Bhanga, along with an experienced team, will launch an election campaign across the length and breadth of the province.
Maimane continued: “As we have seen in recent elections, and particularly in the 2016 local government elections, what happens in the Eastern Cape is of major significance in the country as a whole. The ramifications of what happened in Nelson Mandela Bay – where the ANC was unseated by a DA-led coalition in 2016 – continue to reverberate throughout our country, and the recent attempt by the ANC/EFF alliance to steal back the city is testament to the high stakes involved here.”
According to Maimane, Bhanga will be tasked with continuing the party’s efforts of fighting on behalf of the farming community of Gwatyu “to ensure that those who have been living on and working this land can finally see it transferred to them”.
Maimane said he has full confidence in Bhanga’s abilities to deliver these results.
“Nqaba might not have started out with the DA, but it soon became clear to him that there is only one party that can deliver the kind of South Africa our people deserve. He has made the same political transition that so many voters have made too. He moved to the DA from Cope in 2014 after having met Athol Trollip the previous year where they spoke at length about the urgent need for change in the province, and particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay.”
Maimane said during his high school career, Bhanga was elected regional chair of Congress of South African Students (Cosas) – which is an ANC aligned organisation.
“He would go on to become an ANC youth leader as well as SRC President at what was then known as Port Elizabeth Technikon, which is today part of Nelson Mandela University. It was there that he qualified in public administration and, later, obtained a post-graduate qualification in maritime studies.”
Bhanga then later served as the national secretary general of the South African Student Congress – also an ANC aligned student movement – before becoming the youth leader of the breakaway COPE.
“He would go on to become a COPE Member of Parliament before his encounter with Athol Trollip convinced him to switch to the DA,” Maimane said.
The DA recently announced City of Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga as the party’s candidate for premier of the Gauteng Province.