DA leadership hails “historic” NMB vote
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has described the party’s victory in Nelson Mandela Bay as a “historic moment”, and one which realises late former President Nelson Mandela’s dream of an all-inclusive non-racial society working together.
Addressing an estimated 1 000 supporters to chants of “Mmusi Mmusi Mmusi” on Vuyisile Mini Square outside City Hall on Saturday, day after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) confirmed the party’s victory over the African National Congress (ANC) by 46.71% to 40.92%, Maimane said the party would get to work immediately “as this government needs to be the one that delivers”.
“You may not have voted for the DA, but just because we might have debated on things that were not right, if you are a citizen of this Metro you deserve [proper services],” he said to wide-scale cheers as smartphones recorded his every move.
Acknowledging the ruling party’s decision on Friday to concede defeat, Maimane said the DA had no intention of gloating as its Mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip, now represents the people of the Metro regardless of their political affiliation.
“This city has a lot of potential; therefore the government that works here must be a home for all. We cannot go from one government to the next… we only have five years to turn the fortunes of the people of this city around,” a defiant Maimane said.
“Somethings will take time but we will work tirelessly to give you the best service. The absolute winners are people of Nelson Mandela Bay, not the DA. We have shown that we can change government through the ballot box. Thank you so so much for this historic moment for all”.
Prior to Maimane’s speech, a jubilant Trollip, who took to the stage as supporters started chanting “Trollip Trollip Trollip” and “Mayor”, said the party will work together with its coalition partners “to make this city great” and to “exploit the unavailable potential it has to attract investment so as to create jobs and attract tourists”.
“We want this city to work. We cannot have people who have been appointed illegally or who have been involved in corruption. The people who have been running this city have been looking after themselves and not after it,” he said, adding that the party would set itself up to win the province in due time.\
Describing Maimane as “a disciple of Nelson Mandela”, Trollip said the party is what it is because of his vision and that it would do everything it can to make the city prosper.
Coalition talks and plans in the pipeline
Speaking at an impromptu media briefing with the doors of City Hall as a backdrop, Trollip again reaffirmed previous reports that the party had been engaging with the United Democratic Movement (UDM), and its Secretary-General Mongameli Bobani, about the establishing of a coalition government.
He however remained mum on identifying whether an agreement had been reached with any of the remaining parties, saying it would be “inappropriate” to divulge further details.
Asked what areas he plans to address first, Trollip said an investigation into the stagnant IPTS bus lane needs to be undertaken, and that it would implement a proper Metro police force “which works, carries out arrests and curbs crime”.
He also questioned the decision by outgoing Mayor Danny Jordaan to allocate funds for the beleaguered Eastern Province Rugby Union without proper council approval, before lying into the Union’s controversial boss, Cheeky Watson.
“It was a premature and irregular decision which we need to look into. I believe we need a rugby team in the Eastern Province… the province is renowned for rugby but it has been in the doldrums for so long because of maladministration. People like Cheeky Watson have destroyed EP Rugby and he was a member of the ANC and did it under the ANC’s watch,” Trollip said.
“We want to bring back proper sport administration and through it, we can help them. We cannot [however] continue to pour money into a bottomless pit. We will have a government that will facilitate economic growth and attract people to apply their sports trait here”.
Trollip stated that the party would also implement a proper Wi-Fi system in the city and that the eradication of gangsterism in the troubled Northern Areas remains a top priority.
“Under the ANC, gangsterism has got out of control. We are going to fight gangsterism. We are going to have a proper police force… I am sick and tired of empty slogans… No more gold taking, no more golden handshakes, no more golden anything, just hard work and a corruption free government”.
On the abolition of bucket toilets still present in large parts of the Metro, Trollip said it would provide ventilated pit latrines to communities until proper bulk sewage infrastructure can be installed, as many have been promised proper sanitation as far as 1995.
“This is unheard of in 2016 and the people have had enough. We are going to bring dignity back,” he said, adding it would continue with the poverty alleviation programme but with the eventual aim of reducing government dependence.
“We are going to break this dependency that the ANC has promoted. We want more and more independent people that will for vote us for liberating them and not for keeping them dependant. Every single official will work day and night to make sure we break this dependency”.
He stated that a “noticeable change” in the city would become evident after a year, and that the city would never be the same again after two terms.
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