Kimberley - For the Democratic Alliance in the Northern Cape, Wednesday’s announcement of the results was bitter-sweet. The party was hoping to take the Province from the ANC but while it failed to achieve a majority, it continued to show growth and reclaimed its position as the official opposition in the Province.
In 2009 the DA achieved only 12.57 percent of the provincial votes.
The party’s Premier candidate, Andrew Louw, summed it up on Wednesday shortly before the final provincial results were announced when he described his feelings as “a mixture of a lot of things”.
Scooping around 24 percent of the Province’s votes, Louw said that while he expected more, this was the reality the party now had to deal with.
“We showed growth and in fact we doubled the number of votes received. One in four people in the Province voted for the DA. But there is always room for improvement.”
He pointed out that in 2011 the party took five wards away from the ANC and retained those wards in this election “and doubled our presence”.
“I am confident that in 2016 we will retain these wards again.”
He added that is was good to see the level of public confidence in the party.
“We are a little disappointed of course. We gave the election our everything – when we look at the work we did for these elections, the kilometres driven, the number of days spent on the campaign, we know that is was a successful campaign.”
Louw said that while the party picked up votes in the traditionally black wards, it was obvious that the people were scared.
“We will start our campaign for the next elections immediately. We need to allay the fears of those who want to vote for us and create a permanent presence on the ground.”
He stated that the party needed a more permanent presence on the ground.
“Distance is a huge problem in the Province. We spent more time travelling than on the ground – distance was definitely our enemy. We need to be on the ground on a permanent basis – our public representatives need to be there daily. Voters are not married to political parties, and we are seeing this in the results today.”
Louw added that the party would analyse the results once they were finalised and look at the areas where it had been lacking.
“We need to look at where we made mistakes and see how we can fix them.”
Referring to its new role as official opposition, he pointed out that the legislature was the cornerstone where political parties needed to be heard.
“We are there to represent our voters and to make sure that we add value to the debates and be the voice for those who voted for us.”
The party will receive eight seats in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature – five of which will go to party members who have never served in the provincial government before. “Although they are newcomers, they bring with them a wealth of expertise and knowledge and we are very confident in their abilities.”
Louw pointed out that same of the challenges facing the new provincial government was unemployment.
“This is standing at 35 percent currently. The ANC has failed dismally in this regard and does not have a plan. Our people are destitute, especially the youth, many of whom have turned to crime and drug abuse because they are victims of their situations.”
Another issue he highlighted was that of corruption and money-laundering.
“In her State of the Province Address, Premier, Sylvia Lucas, made corruption a one-liner. Instead of speaking to the issue, the government is awarding people who are corrupt.”
On a more personal note, Louw, who had been up all night, said he intended to spend last night catching up on rest.
“Together with my team we worked hard, irrespective of the outcome and it is time for me to say well done to them.”
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