DA Eastern Cape Provincial Congress 2014 starts today in Jeffreys Bay


More than 500 delegates are expected at the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape’s Provincial Congress 2014 in Jeffreys Bay this weekend. These will include DA leader, Helen Zille, Parliamentary Leader, Mmusi Maimane, as well as the leader of the DA in the Eastern Cape, Athol Trollip.

The congress starts today at Mentors Kraal and ends on Saturday.

At the congress, the party is expected to lay out plans for the upcoming  2016 Local Government Elections. The DA in the Eastern Cape will also be holding its elections for the provincial leadership of the party.

Holding its provincial congress in the Kouga Local Municipality has been seen as a signal that the DA intends to take the municipality in the 2016 Local Government Elections.

Kouga is also the only municipality in the Eastern Cape where the party received an outright majority of votes in the 2014 National Elections.

“Through unrelenting effort and dedicated political activity, the DA in Kouga has been able to bring the ANC below 50% in the past election,” said Trollip.

“This will certainly pave the way for us regaining the municipality in 2016 and making it blue again.”

Elza Van Lingen, the leader of the DA in the area, agreed saying; “We have no doubt that the Kouga will fall to the DA in 2016 – the citizens of Kouga have already spoken.”

The big prize

No doubt, the congress will seek to put forward a plan of action to take the Nelson Mandela Bay from the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC currently occupies 63 seats in the 120-seat metro council and the DA has 48.

In an article titled Nelson Mandela Bay – The Next Big Thing in the DA’s SA Today magazine a month ago, Zille, made it known that the DA was going all out to try and wrestle control of the Nelson Mandela Bay from the ANC.

“The DA’s growth in Nelson Mandela Bay in recent Local Government, as well as National and Provincial Elections, gives us the inside track to take control of the municipality in 2016.

“Between 2006 and 2014, the ANC’s support in the metro dropped from 67% to 49%. During the same period, support for the DA climbed from 25% to 40%. You don’t need a graph to see where this is going. Along with Tshwane (49%), there are now two metros other than Cape Town where the ANC was pushed below 50% in 2014,” she wrote.

“This is a city that doesn’t want to wait another ten or twenty or thirty years to realise its potential. This is a city that’s had enough. We’ve seen it in the results of recent by-elections in the metro. We’ve seen it on the campus of the NMMU, where DASO swept to victory in the SRC elections. The ANC is the old, the DA is the new.

“Nelson Mandela Bay is ready to be big. And through it, the Eastern Cape – the second largest and third most populous province in South Africa – is ready to stop being merely the labour reservoir of South Africa.”

She said after the Bay, the party would seek to take East London.

“And just 300km up the coast lies another slumbering giant in Buffalo City Metro. Once they see what a clean-run, effective municipality can do for Nelson Mandela Bay, it surely won’t be long before Buffalo City too votes for a DA government,” said Zille.  

However, during its 2016 Local Government Elections campaign, last weekend, the ANC's leadership was adamant that they are not going to lose the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to any political party despite good gains by the DA during the previous local government elections.  

Photo caption: DA Leader, Helen Zille.