Zwakele Mncwango
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango took the voter registration campaign to the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus on Wednesday.

The Daily News spoke to him about the party’s plans to grow support in the province, targeting the youth vote, and how they will make a connection with young voters in spaces dominated by opposition parties.

1. Beyond voter registration, what does the DA aim to achieve with this visit to UKZN?

We need to drive young people to go and register to vote. It is a matter of strengthening our democracy; all parties should be going out to encourage people to register.

Young people make up the majority of the South African population. Whichever party is serious about increasing its support in 2019 will need to make inroads in spaces occupied by young people.

2. Has the DA been relevant enough to young people?

We have been lacking in communicating and articulating our policies with young people, and South Africans in general. It’s young people who are worried about their futures, it’s personal for them.These are the people who are worried about joblessness when they complete their ­degrees. I will be launching a campaign where volunteers will be well versed in DA policies, and will be going door-to-door to strengthen face-to-face interactions with voters.

3. The EFF has made major inroads in university politics. How does the DA aim to become relevant in that constituency?

The EFF has taken a populist approach to politics; we cannot go that route. The DA will engage with students on their challenges, be realistic in its promises, but most of all come up - together with them - with practical ways to solve their problems. We also have a presence at UKZN through the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO).

4. Give us a student issue and tell us how the DA can approach it?

Lack of adequate accommodation remains a major student struggle. There you require leadership that will engage stakeholders including the university, private investors and the municipality which can avail land, space. That is a solution-based approach, instead of populism.

5. What are the core ­student issues the DA is concerned about?

The major issue is the drop-out rate at universities; there is a problem with the quality of education provided in our primary education. The poor foundation students get means they struggle in university. There are many factors that influence drop-outs, like lack of funding and accommodation, that should be looked at.

6. What is the DA’s target in the coming elections (KZN)?

We are gunning to drop the ANC below 50% in KZN. That does not mean the DA will get 51%. I’m saying the IFP, EFF will get its voter share and, combined, we will be able to get the ANC under 50%.

Daily News