We were wrong to bash the ANC in our campaign, Msimanga admits

The failed Gauteng premier candidate appears headed for the opposition benches in Gauteng.

Persistent ANC (and EFF) bashing and blunders that came with removing former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille could have contributed to the dismal performance by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the elections, failed Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga said yesterday.

Despite Msimanga’s daily campaign activities in an effort to take over from Gauteng premier David Makhura, his party lost two seats in the Gauteng legislature, winning 27.45% of the votes. The ANC just managed to pip a majority of 50.19%, while the EFF showed a strong improvement, gaining three seats in the legislature.

An exhausted Msimanga told The Citizen yesterday he was disappointed by the election outcome, after putting his “heart and soul” into the campaign.

“One feels a bit disappointed in the outcomes, but I think we need to reflect as a party. I do believe there were a number of mishaps in Gauteng and the elections themselves, including the build-up. People were criticising our messaging. I also agree on no ANC bashing and rather talking about what we want to do and achieve.

“We have been hurt by how we communicated some of our blunders, like the De Lille matter, which I think questioned the party’s stance on a number of issues.

“It is important to resolve these going forward,” Msimanga said.

The DA’s federal executive committee is to meet today to recap on their humbling performance. It is believed leader Mmusi Maimane’s future will also be scrutinised.

Under Maimane’s leadership, the national votes saw a decline from 22.23% when Helen Zille was in charge to 20.77%.

But the blame should not be put on Maimane’s shoulders, Msimanga said.

“I don’t think it would be fair to blame Maimane for everything that has happened.

“There should be collective responsibility, while getting ready for the 2021 local elections.”

Having left his top job as Tshwane mayor to focus on his premiership campaign, Msimanga would be sitting in the opposition benches in the Gauteng legislature.

He denied rumours and speculations that he would be sent to parliament.

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