- United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has gone on a charm offensive in Nelson Mandela Bay. (News24)
Port Elizabeth - United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa went on a charm offensive in Nelson Mandela Bay on Friday.
In a final push for votes in the hotly contested region, Holomisa - accompanied by mayoral candidate Mongameli Bobani - went door to door and street to street in some of the poorest areas of Nelson Mandela Bay.
Like a pied piper leading his flock, Holomisa visited various wards in the area to introduce councillor candidates, while reminding the residents to vote.
Dozens of people - including men nursing their hangovers, women in pyjamas and Victorian style night dresses and slippers, and young children dancing along to the loud hailer - came out of their houses to shake his hand.
Pantyhose-wrapped hair and skew doeks did not stop the women from posing for selfies with "the general", as he lead a convoy of 10 taxis and more than 14 cars down the muddy streets of ward 18 in Kwazakhele.
While some residents were adamant that they would never stop voting for the African National Congress, the group of followers grew as Holomisa walked through more than 10 streets, while a loudhailer called on the community to lend him their ears.
Going from ward 18, 22, 24, 27, 43 and 48, the UDM spread the same message.
"Teach the ANC a lesson at the polls. Show your anger at the conditions you live in. Vote them out," Holomisa told people.
He urged his candidates to always be truthful with their constituents and not spin a web of promises they would never be able to fulfil.
"Don’t lie and say: 'Vote for me and you are going to roll around in butter'. Be honest, always. Tell them how long it would take to fix their problems. What people hate is not getting any feedback at all," he said.
Calling on the residents to give the UDM a chance, he said they could not continue voting for a party led by President Jacob Zuma.
The money spent on his Nkandla homestead and cars for his spouses could have dealt with all the problems facing the various Nelson Mandela Bay communities, he told them as he stopped at the end of each street.
"Let this be the last time he gets to spend your money," he said.
Residents poured their hearts out to Holomisa, citing problems including housing, jobs, and general neglect.
He promised to write a formal letter to the city and human settlements department, detailing some of the problems raised by the residents.
The party also went around welcoming new members, who had defected from other political parties in the area.
On Saturday, Holomisa is expected to address a rally in KwaMagxaki, in the final push before the elections.
The rally will be held at ward 30, the area won by the UDM during by elections in 2015.
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