'First look inward, Mmusi'

14 May 2015 - 02:07 By Shenaaz Jamal and Olebogeng Molatlhwa

Newly elected DA leader Mmusi Maimane has been advised to consolidate his position in the party before venturing outwards. Forty-eight hours after clinching victory over challenger Wilmot James, Maimane was on CNN TV talking to veteran journalist Christiane Amanpour about his vision for his party and South Africa.The DA has some way to go before it can reasonably consider itself to be in a position to overhaul the ANC, which garnered 62.15% of the vote in last year's general election; the DA was far behind with 22.23%.But that limited success in building support is attributable to his predecessors - Tony Leon and to a larger extent Helen Zille - meaning Maimane must establish his identity and then consolidate his grip on power before selling his idea of South Africa's future to the electorate.Political analyst Andre Duvenhage, of North West University, believes Maimane should prioritise the DA because he is still on "uncertain ground" after a public campaign that went some way in exposing his inexperience.Duvenhage said: "There is something quite worrying about Maimane going outwards while he still stands on uncertain ground. Perhaps the perfect strategy would have been to consolidate from the inside and then move to convince South Africans of his vision."Duvenhage said he viewed yesterday's so-called "Twitter Town Hall" as the party's way of taking advantage of the interest in the DA, that was sparked by Sunday's election outcome.Maimane trended for the better part of yesterday afternoon after his question-and-answer session on the social networking site.The first black leader of the DA wasted no time in defending himself when asked what his response was to critics labelling him a puppet of the DA.Maimane responded: "I worked hard to get where I am. The puppet and token insults are manufactured by a very desperate ANC #AskMmusi".Twitter user @funkrat tweeted: "#AskMmusi Your thoughts on how to fix Eskom. particularly interested in your short term plans ... "Maimane responded: "Allow for independent power producers so we diversify our energy supply. Stop executive bonuses, Finish Medupi."Twitter users were interested in how Maimane was going to mobilise white supporters but Maimane refused to play the race card, simply responding: "We don't mobilise on the basis of race. Our values of freedom, fairness and opportunity are central to the DA".Twitter users also asked the "Obama of Soweto" a few amusing questions.@ImRohanKhan tweeted: "@MmusiMaimane #AskMmusi why did the chicken cross the road?"Maimane replied: "Because it has freedom of movement."

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