DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Durban - The DA has assembled a strong campaign team in KwaZulu-Natal to focus on winning the elections instead of forming a coalition with other opposition parties, says party spokesperson Phumzile van Damme.

She had spent the weekend assembling Team One KZN - a provincial version of the Team One South Africa - launched by party leader Mmusi Maimane last month.

Van Damme announced the provincial team at the Nelson Mandela capture site outside Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands on Sunday.

“Our mission is not to go into a campaign with a plan to go into coalition.

“We go into a campaign with the focus of winning. A coalition is something we will consider after the votes have been counted,” she said.

She said the DA, which governs the Western Cape and co-governs the Johannesburg and Tshwane metros, was confident that it could wrest state power from the ANC. “We are all working hard, all as members of Team SA, on the ground every week,” she said.

She said the interaction she had in KwaZulu-Natal with potential voters had left her confident of the party’s chances. “I listened to their concerns and what their issues are.

“A lot of people have called for change. There has been a very warm reception for the DA, and I have confidence in our teams.”

While in Durban, Van Damme visited Durban’s Bat Centre, an institution exhibiting artists’ works.

Bat Centre financial manager Vusi Ntuli told Van Damme about the financial challenges facing the institution, which had once been the home of legendary artists such as the late guitarist Sipho Gumede and vocalist Busi Mhlongo.

“Many programmes that we have been running had to be closed since we are running out of money.

“We had been running Sunday Jazz, which was aimed at promoting amateur artists, for the past 15 years, but since last year it had to be stopped because of a lack of funding from eThekwini municipality.

“The biggest challenge is that we don’t receive enough funding to run operations of the centre,” said Ntuli.

Van Damme said she would raise the issue of Bat Centre and other similar art centres across the country that are battling to make ends meet.

“Instead the municipality in KZN is focusing on a record deal with former president Jacob Zuma, who is more than welcome to record an album and market it (on his own) if he so wishes.

“But Zuma must do so on his own.

“The people’s money must not be used to further him as a musician as there are millions of young people who need that support,” said Van Damme.

She was responding to reports that eThekwini municipality’s parks, recreation and culture department was proposing to fund Zuma to work with popular artists such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo to record Struggle songs.

Political Bureau