Tough road for DA man in Nkandla

2012-09-12 00:00

MTHUNZI Khanyile is a man with a mission in Nkandla.

As the Democratic Alliance’s branch chairperson on President Jacob Zuma’s home turf, he is prepared to walk 10 km to recruit just one potential member.

It hasn’t been easy and Khanyile believes he is being left high and dry by his own party in terms of his growth goals.

But he’s not about to give up.

Khanyile, a loyal DA member, believes his party has been unable to meet the needs of the community, despite having a strong following.

“I launched this branch in November 2011. I was told to bring in just 25 members, but today I can boast 240 members. Working in opposition politics in an area with a strong IFP and ANC following is not easy.

“I don’t spend time in Nkandla town as there are rumours that people ‘want to get me’. I avoid walking at night. Added to this, I have almost no resources to undertake what I am required to do. Sometimes I walk over 10 km just to see a potential member,” said Khanyile.

Falling within the Nkwazi constituency, which is much of the Zululand region north of the Tugela River, Khanyile says he has been threatened for working in a party accused of ‘wanting to bring back apartheid’.

Moreover, he has seen his own employment opportunities diminish, but has no intention of leaving the DA.

“I provide cleaning products for school ablutions, but business has slowed right down. I get the opportunity to present, but I am told after the meeting that if you are not an active ANC member you do not get the business.

“It is the same when accessing other services; the treatment is equally skewed in favour of ruling party voters,” said Khanyile.

Fundraising in a largely ANC and IFP community was incredibly difficult, as potential funders did not want to be seen to be ‘assisting the DA’ for fear of losing contracts or business.

“Realistically we could win three or four wards by the next election, but party support from the provincial structures is paramount.

“I am not talking about money, but just assistance.

“We must be available to the people,” said Khanyile.

However, the DA would be required to beat the odds in Nkandla. In the 2011 local election the party only claimed 0,16% of the vote, or 140 voters, down from the 2004 national election where it recorded 474 votes or 1,4%.

DA Nkwazi chairperson Louis Fourie said the challenges faced in Zululand stemmed from the electorate being spread over a wide area and often inaccessible rural areas.

“There are plans to expand the DA brand in every ward [including Nkandla] in the entire province and we are making excellent progress in this regard.”

Fourie said the party in the region had not received any report from Khanyile on his difficulties, but would “engage him on this matter”.

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