Zille pushes for the black vote

2011-05-07 19:31

With just 10 days to go before the local elections, DA leader Helen Zille is going all out to woo black voters.

Zille’s determination to dispel conceptions that the DA is a white party has seen her crisscross the country, visiting informal settlements and townships. She has even learnt the art of singing and dancing.

But that’s not all. Her campaign trail has targeted places that are historically ANC strongholds and she has made unprecedented attempts by a DA leader to win the hearts and the minds of black voters.

Zille has invoked the names of liberation icons Chris Hani, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu – names that are synonymous with the ANC.

She took the DA’s Freedom Day celebrations to the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Square and used the event to unequivocally state that the DA was
against racism.

The language barrier is also no problem as Zille is a competent Xhosa speaker.

“Our polling and our experience on the ground indicate a significant shift in black support towards the DA in this election,” said Zille.

In Johannesburg, party poll-tracking numbers show the ANC and the DA are within 4% points of each other. The ANC stands at 41% while the DA is at 37%. Undecided voters still stand at 15% and the DA’s growth is attributed to more blacks who are now supporting the party.

In the final push for the black vote, Zille launched her party’s last poster for the campaign in Soweto on Friday.

The poster message is unambiguous: “Your vote can win it.”

She put up the poster with the help of the DA’s Johannesburg mayoral candidate, Mmusi Maimane, and Gauteng MPL Khume Ramulifho. Maimane, Ramulifho, DA Youth leader Makashule Gana and DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko are some of the young black leaders who are seen as the future of the party.

They have been at the forefront of the DA’s ambitious campaign to attract more black people.

“We have made historic gains in these elections. This campaign has been a fabulous success,” Zille told a handful of DA supporters who witnessed the poster launch.

Julia Mohai, 63, said she was voting DA for the first time because the ANC had let her down on numerous occasions.

Mbali Motha (23) said she did not want to be associated with the “disrespectful and liquor-loving” ANC Youth League. “I am voting DA. I believe the party can make a difference,” she said.

Just after Zille left Soweto for Midrand and Diepsloot, DA and ANC supporters were at each other’s throats, singing derogatory songs directed at each other.

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