1 000 welcome DA in campaign first: The Herald

“TODAY is an unforgettable day – we made history in Kwazakhele.”

This was said by DA premier candidate and provincial leader Athol Trollip as the party, eager to gain more ground among black voters, held its first political rally in the Port Elizabeth township yesterday.

“I will never forget this day,” he said. The colourful “Together for Jobs” march through Mavuso Road ended at the Lilian Ngoyi Sports Centre, where Trollip, former Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela and Nqura constituency leader Nqaba Bhanga addressed more than 1 000 residents.

Balindlela, the Amathole constituency director, was a favourite with the singing, dancing crowd.

Former COPE MP Bhanga, who joined the DA recently, said even though there were efforts to stop the event in Kwazakhele, “people are here today and refuse to be bullied by the ANC”.

As the party gears up for the last stretch of its election campaign in the province, the highlight will be DA national leader Helen Zille’s visit to Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday.

An energetic Trollip said yesterday: “We keep on coming back to PE because we are building our blue house brick by brick, and will be putting up our roof in 2016 when we take over the Nelson Mandela Bay metro.”

He told the residents they should have a good look at the diverse group of DA leaders sitting in front of them, as they were the future leaders of the city.

“Political parties who survive are the parties that evolve and change over time. We are not just a party for white people but a party for all,” Trollip said, joking that he had enjoyed his time in Kwazakhele so much that he was “looking to buy a house here”.

He said the ANC’s alleged handing out of food parcels in exchange for votes would not make a difference in a week’s time when the food was finished, while DA plans to create six million real jobs would break the cycle of dependency and fuel the economy. After the festive rally, Trollip said the DA had never had such a big attendance at a meeting in the city without a national leader as a drawcard.

Provincial deputy leader Bobby Stevenson said the DA was in the process of creating a new constituency in the Kwazakhele-Missionvale area.

Missionvale resident Andrew Baatjies, 24, said he would vote DA because it was “the only diverse party in South Africa, and cares for everyone”.

Another DA member, Gideon Mashawa, 48, of Uitenhage, said the party would bring change in his life. “I want a decent life and a house. I live in a shack at the moment and am not even working,” Mashawa said.

Speaking in Xhosa, Balindlela said she had found everything she wanted in the DA, including reconciliation, with blacks and whites working together.

She said the DA accepted diversity and she was welcomed wherever she went, wearing her traditional clothes.

She had also found “love” in the party, with people greeting and loving her wherever she went.

Bhanga reiterated Trollip’s sentiments that the Bay would be taken over by the DA in 2016.