DA ‘itching to take Bay’ — The Herald

Party determined to capture Eastern Cape, starting with city, De Lille says

THE DA has its eyes set on governing the Eastern Cape, starting with Nelson Mandela Bay which the party strongly believes it will take over after the 2016 local government elections.

This is according to Cape Town mayor and senior DA leader Patricia de Lille, who visited the Bay’s northern areas and Uitenhage’s western suburbs on Saturday.

Instead of using her visit to campaign in ANC strongholds in the Bay, De Lille rather addressed DA members and supporters, asking them to convince more people to vote for the party in the upcoming national elections and the 2016 local government elections.

She spoke at a packed Chatty community hall in Port Elizabeth and at the Rosedale indoor sports centre, in Uitenhage, where she received a warm welcome accompanied by singing and dancing.

Laying into the ANC, De Lille accused the ruling party of “destroying this beautiful province of the Eastern Cape” and looting the public purse.

At the Chatty community hall, she said: “In the Eastern Cape they are not stealing, they’re looting. The school and health systems are not working and people don’t have jobs.

“People go to Cape Town from the Eastern Cape to give birth because of our good healthcare system and to put their children in schools there.

“Yes, everyone is free to live anywhere in the country, but it’s not fair how the money gets stolen.

“The only hope for the Eastern Cape is the DA.

“We are itching to take over this beautiful province.”

During the 2011 local government elections the DA received 82% of the votes in the northern areas. It wants to push that figure up to 90% by snatching the majority in one of the metro’s biggest wards, Ward 41.

Ward 41 comprises Booysen Park, Chatty Extension and Joe Slovo.

De Lille spoke at length about drugs and gang violence in the northern areas, which she said was also a major challenge in Cape Town.

She said the DA had established a special unit to deal with drugs and gang violence in Cape Town and she urged DA members in the Bay to do the same.

“We’ve got the ‘Ceasefire’ programme and we recruit people who used to be gangsters to work on the ground and interact with the people.

“We’ve kept the peace for 120 days. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will not be another shooting. It was so bad that the children couldn’t even go to school. So it’s one success story.

We also recruited school resource officers where people work at the schools so they pick up the child has a drug problem.”

She urged the communities to take it upon themselves to address the gangs and drugs problem by starting up a 24-hour phone line drug users could call if they needed help, a similar initiative to one in Cape Town.

“Today, parents are afraid of our own children. What has happened? I want to make a passionate plea to say we must do something for our children.”

She reiterated the same message in Uitenhage, where she was joined by MP Annette Lovemore, DA Eastern Cape leader Athol Trollip and provincial chairman Edmund van Vuuren.

De Lille said she had hoped to visit the homes of residents in the area because “Uitenhage was at the forefront of the struggle”.

“I promise I will be back soon and I want to go into the houses of people and speak to them.”

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