POLITICS
09/04/2018 05:35 SAST | Updated 09/04/2018 05:35 SAST

DA Must Win Gauteng In 'Most Important' 2019 Election -- Maimane

"Next year we don't have a choice. We better be a government right here in Gauteng. Forward DA, forward," said Mmusi Maimane at the DA's Federal Congress.

South African Opposition Party, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane closes the federal congress in Pretoria on April 8, 2018.
AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN
South African Opposition Party, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane closes the federal congress in Pretoria on April 8, 2018.

Returning Democratic Alliance federal leader Mmusi Maimane has closed out his party's 2018 federal congress by declaring the next general elections to be the most important the party will ever have.

Maimane made the speech following the announcement of the party's new federal executive, which comprised a number of familiar faces returning to their positions, including Athol Trollip as federal chairperson.

AFP/Getty Images
South African opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA) leadership (L-R) Deputy Federal Chairperson Mike Waters, deputy chairperson Refiloe Nt'sekhe, President, Mmusi Maimane, Federal Chairperson, Atholl Trollip, chairperson of Federal Council James Selfe, womens network leader Nomafrench Mbombo and youth leader Luyolo Mphithi, speak at a press conference at the party's Federal Congress in Pretoria on April 8, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN (Photo credit should read GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Delegates started to trickle out of the venue as soon as the announcements were made, but Maimane was quick to wrap up the two-day conference as succinctly as possible.

One of his main themes this year, aside from championing diversity within his party, was the all-out offensive the DA must embark on to secure the Gauteng province, and possibly the Union Buildings, in next year's general elections.

He welcomed the new nine-member federal executive into the challenge.

"I want to say I look forward to working with every one of you, from the chair to the deputies here.

"It's going to be the most important election we've ever had as a party. I want to say thank you to John [Moodey] and the team for hosting us here," he said referencing the party's Gauteng leader.

"Next year we don't have a choice. We better be a government right here in Gauteng. Forward DA, forward."

GULSHAN KHAN via Getty Images
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane (C), dances with other constituent leaders during the party congress in Pretoria on April 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN (Photo credit should read GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The upcoming elections will ultimately be about jobs, he said.

"We need to be able to say that too many South Africans are left out," he continued.

"There are many South Africans who are sitting at home wondering where the next meal is coming from. We must stand up for all of them."

As a result, the Congress made a number of resolutions, including that cities and local economies should be the drivers of development.

It also reaffirmed its commitment to rid the nation of corruption.

"We will be relaunching our jobs programme. The State must be the last employer.

"We have a big job ahead of us next year. We will begin the task of sharing with the people of South Africa a hope that is better than today.

"Many people are disappointed, saying 'Look, the DA is divided.' Look around, this is one South Africa," he said.

-- News24 / HuffPost