Jacques Smalle Picture: Facebook

Mokopane - Democratic Alliance Limpopo leader and MPL Jacques Smalle will be the party's premier candidate in next year's national and provincial elections, DA leader Mmusi Maimane announced on Saturday.    

"I am delighted to be in Masodi village today [Saturday] to announce Jacques Smalle as the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) premier candidate for the 2019 election," Maimane told a DA gathering at Mokopane.

His career in politics spanned more than two decades from two terms as a councillor, a member of the provincial legislature, and a member of parliament in various capacities.

"When the province was placed under administration, it was his dogged fight that more than tripled norms and standards for quintile one to three schools from a meagre R320 to R1060 per learner, which made it possible for schools to become more independent.

"So when he offers to focus on funding incomplete infrastructure projects in the province such as Ratunku Primary School before starting on new infrastructure projects to ensure that we use resources effectively, you know that he will fight tooth and nail to realise this," Maimane said.

Smalle had been an entrepreneur from a young age, successfully running multiple businesses from a bakery, butchery, and supermarket to an avocado and nut farm. His commitment to a civilian service programme that would provide young school leavers with an opportunity to enter the industry of their choosing and a programme partnering school leavers was a reflection of the fundamental importance he placed in investing in the future of young South Africans.

His cross-sector experience left him well placed to deliver on his offer to ensure that locals were the first to benefit in all special economic zone (SEZ) developments by ensuring transparency on all terms of reference (ToR) and memoranda of understanding (MoU), he said.

"Few are as well qualified as Jacques to champion the DA’s call for freedom, fairness, opportunity, and diversity throughout Limpopo. As of now, he will champion the DA’s charge for change and mission to unseat the incapable ANC government in the province.

"Jacques will lead a team dedicating to eradicating corruption and will call for a commission of inquiry into the VBS Mutual Bank investment scandal before Limpopo municipalities lose another R1.1 billion to service delivery projects in the province."

His team would target its spending on completing incomplete infrastructure projects and clearing the infrastructure backlog for rural township schools. With 37.4 percent of Limpopo residents without a job or having given up hope of ever finding a job, Smalle would make it a priority to support emerging businesses and equip SMME owners with the relevant business knowledge and skills to grow and create more opportunity, Maimane said.

- African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet