Bhisho Brief 42: Message from the Leader

After the conclusion of a very successful DA provincial congress, where the mood was tangibly one of keen anticipation of things to come in the 2016 local government elections and united team spirit, we have now effectively embarked on our next election campaign.

Hardly has the dust settled from our most successful election yet in May 2014 and we are again embarking on our most important election yet. We have set ourselves high targets of expectation and the people of this province deserve more DA governments in the Eastern Cape.

Although our 5 strategic municipalities all lie on our western boundary with our DA neighbouring province, we are set to grow our representation in every single municipality in the province.

The attainment of these ambitious objectives will not be a walk in the park and apart from the ANC’s obvious determination not to relinquish these councils, we will be faced with many challenges that will or could militate against us achieving our objectives.

Some of these challenges will be intimidation, possible bias of IEC officials at local level of voting districts and the lack of enthusiasm of the SAPS to uphold our constitutional and electoral provisions that should guarantee a level playing field. We will also be facing a concerted effort by the governing party to abuse state resources in order to promote their “National communication strategy framework”. This is in fact a euphemism for state sponsored propaganda to tell “fairy tales” about what the ANC is planning to do to improve service delivery.

Apart from the fact that the entire campaign is branded in ANC colours it is quite incredible how brazen the ANC is about the abuse of ever more scarce state resources for their own ends rather than to use them to meet the service delivery needs of our citizenry “rich” and “poor”, especially the poor.

The DA must do all we can to expose this outrage and to impress upon the electorate that this is simply more of the same and the ANC track record of delivering on its promises speaks volumes.

In this regard I believe that it is important to consider the statement (see statement below) that I released after the recent Uitenhage/Kwanobuhle by-elections. The ANC has never been more vulnerable and we have never had better opportunities to govern! This can only became a reality if everyone (public representatives, activists and voters) believes we can win and then commit themselves 100% to doing what it will take to win.

The DA team in Bhisho is totally committed to achieving this objective and we are inspired by the fact that the people of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, Kouga, Camdeboo and Koukamma all want change and that they recognize the DA as the most realistic party to give effect to this wish. The people of Baviaans municipality (DA led) are moving toward their second 5 year term under a DA led government and they know that life is better under a DA government.

 DA AND INDEPENDENT GROWTH ACCELERATES ANC’S SLIDE IN NELSON MANDELA BAY METRO

These two wards are very interesting barometers for the forthcoming local government elections in 2016, where the DA has publicly stated that it intends wining this strategic metro municipality.

Uitenhage has been rocked by a number of violent service delivery protests over the past few years.  The impact of these protests and the outcomes of yesterday’s by-elections are an ominous portent of things to come for the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

The DA has grown steadily in Ward 46, which incorporates a large chunk of KwaNobuhle.  In the 2011 local government elections the DA got 22.43% of the vote, in the May 2014 national/provincial elections 23.21%, and in the November 2014 by-election 28%.

This indicates that the governing ANC cannot arrest the slide in support that brought them below 50% in the national/provincial election.  This despite the frantic campaigning of senior ANC figures such as the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, no less.

The result in Ward 42, where an independent candidate beat the ANC, is an unmistakable sign that the party (ANC) is not bigger than the people.  This result highlights the vulnerability of the ANC and this even without the contestation of the “new kid on the ANC’s block”, the EFF.

The low voter turnout in both wards (Ward 42, 46.5% and Ward 46, 35.36%) show that the ANC can no longer turn out their supporters at will.

The face of local government is set to change forever due to the woeful performance of the ANC in this sphere of government for so long.  The ANC’s tolerance of chaotic and corrupt governance in the Metro under self-serving and/or inept leadership has finally come home to haunt them.

This result will surely be reverberating in the ears of the ANC national spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, and the ANC provincial secretary, Oscar Mabuyane, who both pronounced an emphatic ANC-victory.

This result shows that the ANC will not govern until “Christ returns”, rather that democracy and the wishes of the people are here to stay in a constitutionally democratic South Africa.

Athol Trollip, Provincial Leader