DA’s ‘BLUE WAVE’ WASHES THROUGH FORMER TRANSKEI: DAILY DISPATCH

Representation grows from two seats to 15

FROM having just two seats in the former Transkei region after the 2006 municipal elections, the DA has grown its presence there more than six-fold.

The DA’s blue wave has spread across the Transkei region and the party now has a total of 15 seats in eight local and two district councils.

The party’s constituency leader for Transkei, Veliswa Mvenya, hailed her party’s growth in the region as a breakthrough.

A proud Mvenya, an MPL in the provincial Legislature, said the party’s single seats in Mbizana, Ntabankulu and Mbhashe, as well as the two seats in Mquma, and now Port St Johns, King Sabata Dalindyebo, Mzimvubu, and Nyandeni localities, were pleasing.

The DA has also secured single seats in OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo district municipalities.

“Although one can be viewed as a small drop, to us these seats are overwhelming, and indicates people in Transkei are beginning to understand what democracy means for them,” said Mvenya. “People, especially the elderly, say they only vote for the ANC because they are loyal to (former president) Nelson Mandela.”

Mvenya has been working in these areas since after the 2009 national elections.

Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni said the numbers could be seen as “strong indicators that the concept of no-go areas or strongholds has been breached”.

“The Eastern Cape was the bastion of resistance in the past.

“Opposition and liberation politics are institutionalised in the province and one could say the DA had not involved themselves much into being visible in these areas,” said Fikeni.

“Primarily ANC internal problems, factional infighting and lack of service delivery have had a larger role to play than just the strong, robust campaigns we’ve seen from the DA this time around. It’s clear the ruling party has to do some introspection on what went wrong internally,” he added.

The newly-formed Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, the second metro in the province, has also seen the DA nearly double its numbers from 11 councillors in 2006 to 21.

This includes two wards in predominantly coloured areas, which were considered ANC strongholds. The party has also shown growth in proportional representivity seats in the municipality.

DA leader Kobus Botha, who headed campaigns for the party in the Amathole region, took pleasure from the Buffalo City results. “We have managed to get three wards in ANC-strong areas,” said Botha. “These are areas consisting of mainly coloured and black voters – a clear indicator of voters becoming more mature and dumping race-based politics.”

Another ANC casualty in the push for wards is veteran councillor and former two-time East London mayor Alderman John Badenhorst, who was beaten by the DA’s Rowan Thiele by 4 137 votes in Ward 4. The ruling party will, however, have the benefit of the alderman’s experience as he occupies Seat 20 of the ANC’s 28 proportional seats in council.

The ANC scored decisive victories in wards 30, 11 and 13, where independents mushroomed.

The city is completing preparations for the first council meeting, where the new councillors will be sworn in and the new mayor elected.

Since Buffalo City is now a metro, a new deputy mayor and executive committee will also be elected.

The city said the names of all the councillors and their contact details would be published once they had been inducted at a function set for Thursday. — sabelos@