THE battle for the coloured vote is heating up, with the ANC saying its newest member – former DA councillor Grant Pascoe – has great influence in crucial constituencies. But the DA says he would not be able to swing votes to the ANC.
Last week Pascoe, the former mayoral committee member for tourism events and marketing, and DA metro chairman, defected to the ANC. Pascoe said he had not been offered any position and was “an ordinary member” of the ANC.
But the ANC in the metro is confident that Pascoe will be able to garner support for the party in Mitchells Plain – the constituency where he served.
ANC chief whip in council Xolani Sotashe said: “In the metro our focus is to win the elections. We are going to utilise him in every way. We want to push up our percentage in those constituencies (Athlone and Mitchells Plain). If the city was ‘working for all’ Grant would not have made the decision to leave. The metro is where the real battle is. We respect the DA but we will give them a serious run.”
He said the ANC provincial leadership would decide where Pascoe would be deployed.
“Grant has a huge following in Mitchells Plain and across the metro. If the DA was so sure of their support in Mitchells Plain they wouldn’t attack him. The voters know they were being used by the DA and the time has come for us to take hands and oust the DA,” Sotashe said.
There was “no doubt” that the ANC would make a serious impact in Mitchells Plain and that its voter support could double in the elections.
“We are doing a lot of work in many areas and the DA is panicking because we are painting the metro black, green and gold,” Sotashe said.
Last week Premier Helen Zille and mayor Patricia de Lille said Pascoe was not a loss to the party. He had faced being fired from mayco after the elections because he did not perform.
Pascoe said he left because he was no longer happy with the way things were done.
He said the city received the results of a customer satisfaction survey which painted a bleak picture of the perceptions of the DA in coloured areas.
Pascoe said the report would be released only after the elections.
The city confirmed the existence of a report and said that the survey was done annually.
The city said yesterday that the survey was done in the interests of enhancing service delivery and that they were reviewing the findings “which are overwhelmingly positive”.
The city said it would not release the survey on Pascoe’s timeline and would release the results in due course.
Acting DA metro chairman Shaun August brushed off comments that Pascoe had influence in the Mitchells Plain constituency.
“He will not be able to swing votes to the ANC.
“The voters’ eyes are open and they know the kind of political party he joined. They know he agrees with Nkandla, the Gupta debacles and other corruption in the ANC.
“The voters in Mitchells Plain will not follow that trend.”
He said Pascoe had “been absent from his activities” in Mitchells Plain in the past four years.
“He made his decision, it was political suicide and he must live with it. We will defend our brand, stand up for our communities and come out victorious in the upcoming elections,” August said.