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Mmusi Aloysias Maimane[1] (born 6 June 1980) is a South African politician, the Leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) political party since 10 May 2015, and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly of South Africa since 29 May 2014. He is the former leader of the DA in the Johannesburg City Council and the former DA National Spokesperson. In 2011 he was elected to be the DA's Johannesburg mayoral candidate in the 2011 municipal elections. In that election, Maimane helped to grow the party's voter base considerably,[2] but was not elected mayor. Thereafter he served as Leader of the Official Opposition on the Johannesburg City Council until May 2014. In addition to his political career, he is also a pastor and elder of the deeply conservative evangelical Liberty Church.[3]

Mmusi Maimane

DA Leader Mmusi Maimane.png
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
29 May 2014
PresidentJacob Zuma
Cyril Ramaphosa
Preceded byLindiwe Mazibuko
Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Assumed office
10 May 2015
ChairAthol Trollip
Preceded byHelen Zille
National Spokesperson of the Democratic Alliance
In office
November 2011 – 6 May 2014
Preceded byLindiwe Mazibuko
Succeeded byMarius Redelinghuys
Phumzile van Damme
Personal details
Born (1980-06-06) 6 June 1980 (age 39)
Krugersdorp, Transvaal Province, South Africa
Political partyDemocratic Alliance
Natalie Maimane (m. 2005)
EducationAllen Glen High School
University of the Witwatersrand (BA)
University of South Africa (MPA)
Bangor University (ThM)
WebsiteOfficial website


Early life and careerEdit

Early years, education and familyEdit

Maimane was born on 6 June 1980 in the Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp. His mother, Ethel Maimane, grew up in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape, and is of Xhosa ancestry in the Sidloyi clan. His father, Simon Maimane, was born in Soweto, and is of Tswana ancestry in the Bafokeng clan.[4] His parents met in 1977 and were married by 1980 in Dobsonville, Soweto.

Maimane grew up in Soweto, and attended Raucall and then Allen Glen High School, where he matriculated in 1997. Maimane graduated from the University of South Africa (BA Psychology), the University of the Witwatersrand (Masters in Public Administration), and Bangor University, Wales (Masters in Theology).[5]

Political careerEdit

In 2010 Maimane applied to run as a DA candidate for Johannesburg City Council and also for internal election as the DA candidate for Mayor of Johannesburg. Maimane was selected as DA National Spokesperson later in 2011.[6]

At the 2012 DA Federal Congress, Maimane was elected as Deputy Federal Chairperson, ahead of eight other candidates.[7]

Maimane applied to run as the DA candidate for Gauteng Premier in 2013. He was successful in this internal race, and stood as the DA candidate for Gauteng Premier during the 2014 national election.

On 18 April 2015, at the DA Western Cape Congress Maimane announced that he would run for Federal Leader of the DA at its elective Federal Congress in May 2015[8] and he was elected as Federal Leader of the DA on 10 May 2015, with the support of almost 90% of voting delegates.[9]

2011 Mayoral raceEdit

Maimane's Johannesburg mayoral candidacy[10] was announced at the DA Election Manifesto Launch at Walter Sisulu Square in Soweto.[11] He defeated contender Vasco da Gama to be elected as the DA mayoral candidate for Johannesburg before a panel of 30 people, including party leader, Helen Zille.

The DA achieved 34.6% of the vote in the 2011 Local Government Elections in Johannesburg, with 752,304 votes.[12] He led a caucus of 90 members of the 260 seats in Johannesburg City Council. The mayoral seat was won by the ANC and Maimane therefore took up the position of Leader of the Official Opposition.

In Council, Maimane served on the Finance Committee, and on the Governance Committee that he had personally pushed to have constituted.

2014 Gauteng Premier campaignEdit

On 31 July 2013 Maimane announced his intention to run for DA Gauteng Premier Candidate[13] in the 2014 Elections at Baliskis in Alexandra township. Two opponents joined the internal race, DA Gauteng Health spokesperson, Jack Bloom and unknown outsider Vaughan Reineke.[14] Maimane emerged as the duly elected DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, on 9 August 2013.[15]

On 12 September Maimane made his first public address as DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, when he addressed a rally of survivors of the Marikana Massacre on the lawns of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Gauteng.[16]

By late-September 2013 Maimane had a campaign bus to transfer him between campaign stops on a daily basis. The customised vehicle was launched to the media in Alexandra township, Johannesburg, on 21 September 2013, where few people turned up.[17] The Believe Bus delivered Maimane to campaign events across Gauteng, traveling to over 350 locations in the nine-month campaign period.

After announcement of his candidacy for Gauteng Premier, on 9 August 2013, Maimane assembled a campaign team for the duration of a nine-month campaign until Election 2014. DA Provincial Communications head Jamie-Ryan Turkington was made Maimane's Chief of Staff.

March 2014 Approval RatingEdit

In a March 2014 Ipsos poll, Gauteng respondents were asked to rate him from 1 to 10 (with 1 being "totally against" and 10 being "totally in favour"), the result was an average of 4.9. Among only DA voters, just 8% rated him between 8 and 10. In the other direction, 27% of Gauteng residents rated him between 0 and 2 or "totally against".[18]

Campaign controversiesEdit

Ahead of the 2014 national elections, Mmusi appeared in a political advert titled "Ayisafani" which suggested that the ANC under the leadership of Jacob Zuma had fallen from grace. The advert was banned by the SABC after it was flighted on April 8 and 9 under the defence that the advert incited violence. The DA laid a complaint with Icasa, and a public hearing was held. The DA and SABC came to an agreement on April 16, after which the broadcaster again aired the advert.[19]

Leader of the OppositionEdit

The DA grew its share of the vote in Gauteng substantially in the 2014 election with Maimane at the helm, but the ANC retained control of the province. Following this, Maimane opted against serving in the provincial legislature and was instead sworn in as a member of the National Assembly of South Africa

The DA's parliamentary caucus met on 29 May 2014 to decide on a new parliamentary leadership. Maimane was the only candidate for the post of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and was elected as the new Leader of the Opposition, becoming the first black male to hold the position in South Africa's history.

On 5 June 2014, at Parliament in Cape Town, Maimane announced his Shadow Cabinet.[20]

Leader of the Democratic AllianceEdit

On 10 May 2015, Maimane was elected Leader of the DA at the party's 2015 Federal Congress in Port Elizabeth. He defeated party chairperson Wilmot James, winning close to 90% of the vote.[21] He was backed by prominent businessman Herman Mashaba.[22][23] He succeeded Western Cape Premier Helen Zille as leader of the party and became the first black South African to lead the DA, as well as its youngest leader to date.[24]

In October 2015, Maimane faced the first real test of his leadership when he had to deal with the controversy that erupted over DA Shadow Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard. Kohler Barnard faced internal DA disciplinary action after controversially sharing on her Facebook page a post from someone else suggesting that life in South Africa was better under former apartheid President PW Botha.[25] She subsequently deleted the post. Apparently, the first instruction to Kohler Barnard to delete the post came from former DA leader Helen Zille.[26] Kohler Barnard apologised unreservedly for her action,[27] and Maimane subsequently demoted her to the position of shadow Deputy Minister of Public Works in a wider shadow cabinet reshuffle.[28] Kohler Barnard stated that she was considering her position,[29] while Maimane came under pressure to expel her from the DA,[30] and his leadership was called into question.[31][32][33] The controversy has also damaged the DA's relations with COPE.[32] The Federal Executive of the DA decided to expel Kohler Barnard from the party,[34] although the decision was subsequently reversed on appeal.[35] Maimane argued that action against Kohler Barnard would have implications for perceptions of the DA amongst black voters, implying that political expediency may trump the merits of the case,[36] and the fall-out from the affair appears to be threatening Maimane's leadership of the DA.[37] The whole affair has, according to James Selfe, chair of the party's Federal Council, caused 'massive damage' to the DA and appears likely to hurt them in the polls.[38] Maimane appeared increasingly weak in his responses to and management of the affair.[39][40]

In January 2016, Maimane set out a new stance for the DA on the issue of racism, in which he called on racists not to vote for the DA, and spelt out a charter on racism that all new DA members will have to commit to when they join the party. He also announced that the DA would introduce equity targets when the DA selects candidates for public office in order to make the party more diverse and reflective of the country as a whole.[41]

Maimane's understanding of the rule of law has been called into question in the context of utterances he made relating to the conviction and jailing of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who was previously controversially welcomed into the DA.[42] Maimane also became embroiled in a controversy around declaration of interests as one of a number of MPs who failed to declare campaign contributions.[43]

In October 2015, Maimane was booed and chased from the University of Cape Town campus when he tried to address students protesting against fee increases,[44][45][46][47] and was subsequently criticised by younger members of his own party for failing to show sufficient solidarity with students protesting over the increases.[48]

In early 2017, Maimane made a controversial visit to Israel.[49]

In March 2017, Maimane faced another leadership test as a result of controversial tweets from Helen Zille where she argued that some elements of South Africa's colonial legacy made a positive contribution to the country. Zille subsequently apologised in light of the outrage generated, and in a seeming repeat of the Kholer-Barnard affair, Maimane has now referred the matter to a DA disciplinary process.[50] Various commentators have called on Zille (still Premier of the Western Cape) to resign or be fired.[51] According to one source Maimane has also called on Zille to step down as Western Cape Premier, but she has refused.[52] Maimane has admitted to difficulties in his relationship with Zille as a result of Zille's continued role as Premier of the Western Cape after he became party leader.[53] [54]

On 5 Oct 2017, Maimane and Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba led a march towards the Guptas’ South African home in Saxonwold against allegations of state capture. Maimane has received criticism from various quarters for demonstrating at the home, despite having previously spoken out against demonstrations at private homes. Also, proper authorization for conducting such a march has been questioned by many.[55]

Personal lifeEdit

Maimane has been married to Natalie Maimane since 2005.[4] They have two children together.


  1. ^ "Members of Parliament – Mr Maimane Mmusi Aloysias". Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  2. ^ Davis, Rebecca (20 May 2011). "Local elections 2011: Beyond ANC and DA numbers". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  3. ^ Gareth van Onselen (4 May 2015). "The Right Reverend Aloysias Maimane | Columnists". BDlive. Archived from the original on 3 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Murray (14 August 2014). "Maimane: We are a South African family". Cape Argus. Archived from the original on 16 August 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. We try and speak to them in both languages Tswana and English, just as an Afrikaans-English couple would, or a Xhosa and Tswana couple, as my parents are.
  5. ^ Rajgopaul, Jeeva (9 April 2019). "Mmusi Aloysias Maimane". South African History Online. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Mmusi Maimane | Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans". Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  7. ^ Davis, Rebecca (26 November 2012). "DA Congress: Project Gauteng on track with the rise of Maimane, Gana". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Maimane to run for DA leader". Times LIVE. 18 April 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  9. ^ Howa, Nazeem (11 May 2015). "Two days in PE usher the DA new age, but what will it be?". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  10. ^ Sanelisiwe Maliza (6 May 2011). "Johannesburg's Mayoral candidates". Times Live.
  11. ^ "DA: Maimane: Address by the DA candidate for Johannesburg mayor, at the 2011 national election campaign launch, Soweto". 26 March 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  12. ^ "2011 elections: Johannesburg results - DOCUMENTS". Politicsweb. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  13. ^ S'thembile Cele. "Mmusi Maimane joins DA race for Gauteng premier candidacy". City Press. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  14. ^ "DA candidate for Gauteng Premiership to be decided on August 9 - DA - PARTY". Politicsweb. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  15. ^ [1] Archived 19 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "DA to join Marikana march for funding - Politics | IOL News". SAPA. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  17. ^ "Maimane wants residents to believe as he launches campaign". SundayWorld. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  18. ^ Van onselen, GARETH (22 April 2014). "Mmusi Maimane: the Hollow Man". Business Day live. BDlive. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Icasa upholds SAPS complaint against DA ad". SABC News. SAPA. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  20. ^ Merten, Marianne (6 June 2014). "Maimane announces DA's shadow cabinet". Cape Argus. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ "Herman Mashaba backs Maimane". 1 May 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  23. ^ Natasha Marrian (1 May 2015). "Herman Mashaba expresses support for Maimane | Politics". BDlive. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Maimane elected new DA leader". News24. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  25. ^ "DA MP faces disciplinary action for PW Botha post". 1 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  26. ^ "Kohler Barnard to face disciplinary action: Maimane". eNCA. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  27. ^ Natasha Marrian (1 October 2015). "Kohler Barnard to face internal disciplinary action | Politics". BDlive. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  28. ^ "DA 'demotes' Dianne Kohler Barnard". News24. 3 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  29. ^ "Kohler Barnard: If need be, I will resign". 2 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  30. ^ "Why DA leader Mmusi Maimane has to throw Kohler Barnard under the bus | Politics". RDM. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  31. ^ Ngwako Modjadji (3 October 2015). "'Maimane lacks strategic thinking' - analyst". The Citizen. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  32. ^ a b "Co-operation with DA hinges on how Maimane handles Kohler Barnard: Cope". Times LIVE. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  33. ^ "Is Maimane willing to show that the DA doesn't want to 'bring back apartheid'? | Politics". RDM. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  34. ^ "DA terminates Kohler Barnard's membership". 30 October 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  35. ^ Thulani Gqirana (22 December 2015). "Dianne Kohler Barnard back in the DA after expulsion is lifted". Times LIVE. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  36. ^ Jan-Jan Joubert; Gareth Van Onselen (1 November 2015). "SUNDAY TIMES - Big leadership test for DA's Maimane looms". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  37. ^ "Maimane on the ropes after Kohler Barnard sacking". News24. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  38. ^ "PW Botha Facebook post caused DA 'massive damage'". News24. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  39. ^ "Dianne Kohler Barnard — victim of a political show trial | Politics". RDM. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  40. ^ Sam Mkokeli (11 January 2016). "Maimane's failure to act on race issue tars the DA | Opinion & Analysis". BDlive. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  41. ^ Mmusi Maimane (19 January 2016). "If you are a racist, don't vote DA - Mmusi Maimane's full speech on race". Times LIVE. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  42. ^ "Someone explain fundamentals of the rule of law to Mmusi Maimane | Politics". RDM. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  43. ^ Khulekani Magubane (30 October 2015). "ANC and DA lock horns over declaration submissions | Politics". BDlive. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  44. ^ "VIDEO: Mmusi Maimane chased away by UCT students". eNCA. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  45. ^ "WATCH: Protesting UCT students tell Mmusi Maimane to leave". News24. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  46. ^ "Independent Online". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  47. ^ "Independent Online". Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  48. ^ "Young MPs roast Maimane's stance on students". News24. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  49. ^ "Outrage over Maimane's visit to Israel | IOL News". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  50. ^ Mngadi, Mxolisi. "Mmusi Maimane: Zille's views on colonialism are inconsistent with DA's values". The M&G Online. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  51. ^ "Helen Zille's only option is to resign". News24. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  52. ^ "DA's investigation into Zille tweets immobile | Cape Times". Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  53. ^ "It was a mistake to keep Zille - Mmusi Maimane". Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  54. ^ "Maimane admits to difficulties in relationship with Zille - report". News24. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  55. ^ Manyathela, Clement. "Maimane says DA didn't march to Gupta's house to intimidate family". Retrieved 3 November 2017.

External linksEdit

  1. 2015 Speech to Parliament
  2. The Soul of Your African: Celebration
  3. An erosion of the DA’s liberal values?
  4. Mmusi Maimane - Our people DA
  5. People by Mmusi Aloysias Maimane , at People's Assembly
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lindiwe Mazibuko
National Spokesperson of the Democratic Alliance
Succeeded by
Marius Redelinghuys
Phumzile van Damme
Leader of the Democratic Alliance in the National Assembly
Preceded by
Helen Zille
Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Political offices
Preceded by
Lindiwe Mazibuko
Leader of the Opposition