DA premier candidate for the Western Cape Alan Winde campaigned in Bokmakierie, Athlone last year as part of his province-wide listening tour. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - DA voters in the Western Cape are simply furious and staying away from the party after a turbulent 2018, the party’s provincial leader said.

Speaking on the DA Western Cape’s election plans, provincial leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said it was no secret that the party had serious challenges last year.

“These challenges are, however, not immune to the DA. We will however be rolling out several campaigns over the next few weeks in the run-up to the general elections. 

“Our strategy will be to regain the support we lost and bring back the voters who might have left,” he said.

Madikizela said the DA’s message was that of service delivery.

“We all know that the DA is the only party serious about service delivery and that our track record is a superb one. But the first step for us would be to acknowledge the challenges first and humble ourselves before the voters. 

“We have our first provincial executive meeting and we will be discussing voter sentiment. We know that our voters only vote for us, but they are p****d off and are simply staying away,” he said.

“We should not be arrogant. We must take the blame and interact with our electorate,” he said.

At the weekend in Bonteheuwel, the DA had a mass voter registration rally where party leader Mmusi Maimane based a large part of their election strategy on policing.

Maimane said their plan was to transform the police service into one with the skills and the power “to kick violent criminals, gangsters and drug dealers out of our communities”.

“To do so, we will professionalise the police force, appointing only skilled and qualified leadership. We will also focus on the four Us: under-staffing, under-training, under-resourcing and under-equipping. This means auditing and upgrading all police stations. It means auditing all weapons and equipment, and taking disciplinary steps against those who have lost or abused firearms, equipment and vehicles. It means bringing in expert inspectors for all stations,” the DA leader said.

Their plan, according to Maimane, involved rigorous testing and assessment of all police recruits, as well as more practical training and simulated learning at police academies. 

“It involves regular firearm testing, crowd-control training, as well as mentorship for all detectives. Our plan will address under-staffing by increasing the number of operational police members from 194 000 to 250 000 in our first term of office and then boosting these numbers with a strong reservist force. We will fill all specialist positions and build a team of crime intelligence analysts and detectives. We will bring back all the specialised units and we will move more officers from their desks into communities,” he said.

Maimane called on his supporters to drown out those who spread divisive messages.

“When other parties come here with their divisive messages of ‘us’ and ‘them’, or when they promise you the world but offer no proof of how they plan to deliver, tell them you’re only interested in a government that can help create jobs, a government that can speed up service delivery and a government that can keep your streets safe,” he said.

DA Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde also called on all to register to vote. General elections are expected to be held in May.

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