Cape Town -
Grant Pascoe, the former DA leader in the crucial Mitchells Plain area, who defected to the ANC, has been deployed to the far-off Northern Cape instead of his home town.
The former mayco member is drumming up support for the ANC in the elections there.
No party can win the Western Cape without taking Mitchells Plain.
“I came here with no expectation. The day I pulled the ANC T-shirt over my head at Luthuli House I have been in the Northern Cape and I have not a single regret,” Pascoe told the Cape Times yesterday.
Pascoe joined ANC leader in the Northern Cape John Block, government officials and about 800 ANC supporters in Steinkopf, about 68km outside Springbok, for Freedom Day celebrations.
“It’s easy to campaign, but the situation and circumstances here in the Northern Cape are very different to that in the Western Cape. There are real problems in this province. It’s just too rural. In the Western Cape you would find a few dirt roads, but here are still too many,” he said.
Asked about his ambitions for the election campaign, he said: “I joined the ANC while they were already on the campaigning trail. I just supplemented that. I have used my knowledge I have gained in the DA to help the ANC. One thing the ANC has is that they respect the branches and their members. They make people feel like they matter.”
Pascoe believes there is potential in the province “given the massive support we have here”.
“Everywhere we go, everyone we see wants an ANC T-shirt. They want to be a part of Nelson Mandela’s organisation and that I have never seen.”
He said while he was in the DA, members were told that service delivery levels were at an all-time low in the Northern Cape, “but when I came here and saw things for myself, I had a different view of the ANC. At the DA it’s a top-down approach where Helen Zille makes a decision and that’s the final go.
“I worked so long for the DA, but I became disillusioned with what they stood for. I decided not to go to the Western Cape because of all that has been said about my defection from the DA. I had the courage to walk away. The DA has no trust in coloured people,” Pascoe said.
ANC Northern Cape leader Block, who is also Finance, Economic Development and Tourism MEC, said: “Grant Pascoe has been deployed here and he has been doing very good here. He has opened the eyes of many in the country. We now know what the DA really is. We will only make a decision on Grant’s future once the elections are over.”
Block, who faces fraud and corruption charges in connection with the construction of government buildings, said they were aiming for a 70 percent victory in the Northern Cape.
“The DA is our main opposition here, but their criticisms are falling on deaf ears.
“They are like a necessary irritation; it gives us good political practice.”