Port Elizabeth – With only two weeks left to the local government elections, the battle for the heart and soul of the highly contested Nelson Mandela Bay metro is hotting up.
Armed with promises, T-shirts, slogans and loud hailers, political parties on Tuesday took to the streets in various areas of the metro.
Addressing more than a 100 supporters, mostly young people, in Zwide, DA leader Mmusi Maimane criticised President Jacob Zuma for his Nkandla homestead and the corruption allegations hanging over him.
Maimane was accompanied by mayoral candidate Athol Trollip, MPs, including Nqaba Bhanga, and other party leaders.
Responding to the crowd’s enthusiasm, he compared Zuma’s lifestyle to that of a "blesser”"
"I am not a blesser. That’s not who I am. Now he wants to buy Nkandla Air, it can’t be allowed," he said. He was referring to the VVIP jet that the defence ministry intended buying for the presidency.
He said people in townships needed jobs and houses, and he promised to deliver.
He urged residents, who had gathered at Qeqe Street, to stay away from corruption.
"If you are corrupt, then your children will be corrupt too. Look at what is happening in the country," he said.
Trollip said they were going to fix what was broken in Nelson Mandela Bay.
He said the ruling party had been dangling "amanqatha [fatty meat] under your noses for too long".
Complaints being addressed
Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela’s boots hit the ground in Motherwell. He handed out T-shirts and asked residents to vote for the ANC.
Listening to the various complaints from residents during his door-to-door visits in Kamvelihle, he acknowledged there were problems with RDP housing. These included cracked walls and water leaks. All their complaints were being addressed, he said.
He rubbished claims that the ANC would lose the metro.
On Wednesday, Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu would be in the area addressing housing-related issues. On Tuesday, she spoke to Missionvale residents about housing.
In New Brighton, UDM mayoral candidate Mongameli Bobani welcomed more than 100 members into the party. They claimed to have been part of the ANC.
A couple of them wore DA T-shirts. Others eagerly slipped their new UDM T-shirts over their ANC shirts. Others threw their ANC shirts away.
Bobani handed out food parcels in honour of Nelson Mandela month.