DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal Francois Rodgers with councillor Chris van den Berg. Picture: Jehran Naidoo/Independent Media
DA leader in KwaZulu-Natal Francois Rodgers with councillor Chris van den Berg. Picture: Jehran Naidoo/Independent Media

Coalitions, tactics and service delivery: the DA’s race to govern uMngeni

By Jehran Naidoo Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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Durban – With just 26 days left before South Africa’s local government elections, the DA in Kwazulu-Natal has been accelerating its election campaign in efforts to win over and govern wards across the province, with uMngeni Municipality in the uMgungundlovu District being a big target on the party’s radar.

Head of the DA in KZN Francois Rodgers has proclaimed the party's stance on the election and its position in the uMngeni local municipality, an area with 12 wards with the majority vote currently in favour of the ANC. Rodgers believes the DA can claim leadership over the municipality with a "blueprint" put together over the last year with the help of stakeholders and community members.

The task, however, of winning a local government election and knocking the ANC off the podium may prove to be an insurmountable challenge, which in cases like uMngeni, may warrant the need for political coalitions.

uMngeni encompasses areas like Howick, Hilton and Mpophomeni.

He said that residents of Howick and Hilton have seen the amount of work put in by DA ward councillors in terms of service delivery and upholding their rights, which he said was testament to the party’s ability to govern the municipality.

“It’s been a specific target, we are nine percent away from bringing the ANC to the lower 50% which is 2 500 votes, and it’s a project that we started a while ago and we now feel confident with the amount of work that we’ve done that we stand a very good chance of bringing the ANC to the lower 50s on November 1.

“I think the residents of both Howick and Hilton in the uMngeni area have seen how hard our ward councillors work, and what a difference the DA’s councillors make when it comes to service delivery and how they fight for the residents rights. I think that in itself gives us a strong foot in the door to convince people that we can govern it better.

“We would consider going into a coalition with any political party that has like minded policies and principles and is focused on effective service delivery. If we can sit around a table and put a memorandum of understanding together where we all recognise what our roles and responsibilities are, that’s something we’ll certainly consider,” he said.

Rodgers, together with the DA’s mayoral candidate in uMngeni Chris Pappas, will unveil the party’s “blueprint plan” for effecting change within the municipality at the Mpophomeni township on Wednesday.

The DA lost its status as the official opposition party to the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KZN in the last national elections, but while it is not a direct focus at the moment, if the party can reclaim territory during the local elections in November, Rodgers believes it may set the stage to challenge the IFP for the official opposition seat.

Political Bureau

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