DA, ANC battle for soul of Tshwane
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Pretoria - The DA in Gauteng says having ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa launch his party’s election manifesto in Tshwane on September 27 (Monday), in a bid to bolster the ruling party’s campaign to reclaim the metro, is the least of its concerns.
So said Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga yesterday during an event to unveil the party’s candidates to contest all 107 municipal wards in Tshwane during the November 1 local government elections.
In an interview with the Pretoria News, Msimanga shrugged off suggestions that the ANC’s manifesto launch, to be held in Pretoria’s Church Square, might threaten the DA’s campaign to obtain 50+1 votes in the coming election. The ANC has said it wants to reclaim Tshwane, which it governed before being ousted in the 2016 municipal elections.
Msimanga said there was nothing new about a launch of the ANC manifesto in Tshwane.
“Even in 2016, they launched in Tshwane because of the Thoko Didiza debacle they were dealing with. They can do it all the time. We are not worried about that. We are concentrating on our campaign,” he said.
Didiza, an ANC MP, was at the time fielded as a compromise mayoral candidate in an effort to defuse tensions between factions of the then regional chairperson Dr Kgosientso “Sputla” Ramokgopa and the late deputy chairperson Mapiti Matsena.
In denouncing Didiza’s introduction, supporters of both Ramokgopa and Matsena embarked on violent protests, demanding that one of their leaders be installed as a candidate.
Msimanga predicted that in the run-up to this year’s elections, divisions within the ANC would deepen due to intra-party friction over candidate lists. “A lot of the same ANC branch members” had complained they were “robbed in our own branch general meetings by people putting up candidates” they did not want.
Msimanga said the DA was focused on clinching “a clear majority to continue the good work that we have started. We say 50+1 because we have also learnt that it is very difficult to depend on other people to govern. This is why we are aggressively going for a clear majority so that we can implement the policies that we are making promises to the people of Tshwane”, he said.
Asked about the possibility of forging a coalition should the results fail to go the DA’s way, he said: “What we have learnt previously is that people change their moods. One moment they are happy with you and the next moment they propose something and they don’t care whether it does make financial sense or doesn’t.
“And if you say you are not going to go with it, they want to put a motion of no confidence against you,” Msimanga said.
The 2016 municipal poll results led to a hung municipality in Tshwane.
The DA secured 93 seats, the ANC 89 and the EFF 25. The DA formed a coalition government with small parties in council and had a loose arrangement with the EFF, which voted with it on a case-to-case basis.
When he was mayor, Msimanga faced several unsuccessful motions of no confidence against him.
“One of the things we will do right now is that everything will be in writing. There will be minimum standards that we all agree to adhere to and none of us will be allowed to deviate from that. We are saying we cannot be threatened anymore.” He believed the DA’s chosen candidates were the best to ensure the party won a majority.