DURBAN - KWAZULU-NATAL DA leader Francois Rodgers says he believes his party has a realistic chance of reducing the ANC majority to well under 50% in many of the province’s municipalities in the November 1 local government elections.
Unveiling the DA’s election manifesto at the DLI Hall in Greyville yesterday, Rodgers told party supporters the DA would target all corners of the province to secure votes.
“There is a narrative that we are focusing only on suburbs, but I can assure you that we will go to informal settlements, rural villages and farming communities to spread the DA message of good and clean governance.”
Rodgers said the DA had been planning for a year and a half for the elections, which had given them a head start on their opponents.
He appealed to party members and volunteers to work flat out, as such an opportunity to cut the ANC’s dominance was not likely to come again. He said this opportunity was prompted by infighting and factional battles among ANC leaders.
The DA leader said the ANC had failed to transform itself from a liberation movement into a party in government.
“We need to be honest in saying the ANC was a great liberation movement,” Rodgers said. However, the governing party was battling to govern, prime examples of which were the number of land invasions, the emergence of slums and a lack of services provided to poor people.
He said the recent theft of copper roofing at Msunduzi Municipality, in Pietermaritzburg, was a further illustration of a failure in governance and law enforcement by the ANC.
“They [thieves] have stolen the roof over the mayor; how about that?”
When asked why the DA had announced only one mayoral candidate in the province, Chris Pappas for uMngeni Municipality, Rodgers said the party was being realistic about its chances at the polls. The DA, he said, wanted to retain all its wards, and where possible regain some it had lost.
Explaining the party’s decision not to field a mayoral candidate for eThekwini Municipality, Dean Macpherson, chairperson of the DA’s KZN provincial executive committee, told IOL last month that this was due to the “political dynamics in the metro”.
“We are focused on a ward-based strategy to field and profile councillors who the electorate will be directly voting for. This ties into our recentlyadopted campaign to unite, rebuild and protect communities after the recent unrest which is being led by our councillors and candidates.”