Durban - Federal leader of the DA John Steenhuisen cast his vote in ward 36 at Northwood Boys’ High School in Durban North, KwaZulu-Natal on Monday and told the media afterwards he was excited to be back in his hometown, a place when he’d been involved in politics since his teenage years.
Steenhuisen arrived with his two daughters at Northwood High, a place he’d been voting at since 1994, shortly before 9am and was greeted by a hoard of elated supporters who were chanting his name as he made his way towards the voting station.
“This was my ward for 10 years when I was a metro councillor. I have been involved with the DA here my whole life and I will be involved with the DA until my dying days because I passionately believe that this party is the future. It is the only party that is bringing together South Africans from different backgrounds, communities and religions around a common set of values and principles,” Steenhuisen told the media after casting his vote.
Leader of the DA John Steenhuisen casting his vote at ward 36 at Northwood Boys high. Steenhuisen said if people wanted service delivery, they should get out and vote DA.@IOL #DA #localgovernmentelections pic.twitter.com/dlaNMp896u— Jehran Daniel (@JehranD) November 1, 2021
Steenhuisen said the party did not opt for a mayoral candidate in eThekwini because the party has chosen a ward-based approach.
“We did this in a number of metros, so we are focusing on a ward-by-ward approach to be able to grow our support here. It has worked for us in the last election. If we are in a position to have a mayoral candidate, then we will put a candidate up,” the DA leader added.
Head of the DA in KZN Francois Rodgers, and the party’s councillor for ward 36 in eThekwini, Shantal de Boer, were present at the station and said that the party had put in an immense amount of work towards the local government elections and are confident that they would win.
With a day left before the elections, the DA had the odds turn in their favour after an ANC member who is deputy mayor of the uMngeni municipality, a focus point of the DA’s campaign in KZN, crossed over to join the blue party. Rodgers said he believed that the move came at an opportune time for the DA.
Head of the DA in KZN says the deputy mayor of uMngeni municipality, who was an ANC member, moved over at the right time and may help the party's campaign. @IOL #DA #LocalbodyElection pic.twitter.com/oyMKlRYybq— Jehran Daniel (@JehranD) November 1, 2021
“This is one of our strongholds but I think we are in for some surprises in eThekwini as a whole. I think the ANC is struggling to maintain their support in eThekwini, so we hope that on November 2 when we wake up it will be a 50% plus majority and that will give the city a chance to turn itself around,” Rodgers said.
“The member that moved over said she was tired of ANC politics and corruption, so it's great when people see the light and they join the DA. uMngeni has been one of our target municipalities, so I think when someone joins the DA that gives our campaign all the impetus that we need,” Rodgers said.
De Boer said the turnout has been amazing and the level of support the party had received in the area was “outstanding”.
“We are definitely going for a win. Our target is 15 000 votes but we will see where it goes,” De Boer said.
The Durban North area saw long lines at its voting stations in both Northwood High and the Durban North College, as voters eagerly waited to cast their ballots in this instalment of the local government elections.
Voting stations officials said they arrived on site at around 6am to prepare for the election day and were likely to leave the stations well after 9pm, when the stations closed.