Cape Town - The DA has become too comfortable in the City of Cape Town, ignoring important issues like gentrification, homelessness and inequality, a group of candidates standing for the ANC in the Mother City's southern suburbs said on Tuesday.
''We want to reverse some of the Democratic Alliance's gains in creating an exclusive and elitist society,'' said Buyilwe Sangolekhaya Matikane, who will be contesting Ward 57, which includes Salt River.
If he wins he will unseat DA city transport official Brett Herron who came in with a 78.36% majority in the area. Matikane was a hit with students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology who had attended a mini-rally with SA Communist Party Secretary General and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande this week.
One of his bugbears is the gentrification of some of Cape Town's old worker suburbs, making it extremely difficult for families and students to continue living there as rentals escalate in what once was the heartland of the textile industry.
He and some of the other southern suburbs candidates present were described by ANC spokesperson Yonela Diko as people who are ''young and educated and who see politics as a noble calling''.
Said Diko,''It is a reflection of the maturity of our democracy where we have people who think they can make a difference.
''They have degrees, qualifications from the University of Cape Town and CPUT among them."
Others were old hands in their communities, familiar with getting home from church on Sunday and finding a queue of people at the gate seeking advice or assistance.
In the 2011 election, the DA scooped 61.15% of the votes in the city with the ANC trailing at 33.17%. Other parties such as the Congress of the People got 1.13%, the African Christian Democratic Party, 1.06%, and the National Party came in a death twitch of 0.54%.
Voters in the city will be spoilt for choice with the 2016 election with the longest ballot paper in the country, at 37 candidates.
The ANC has been pushing to take back the city after its 2011 thrashing, but the DA is determined to keep its crown jewel as it makes a bid to add the Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and City of Johannesburg metros.
In a major setback to its election campaign, the ANC's manifesto launch in the province was postponed at the last minute in June because of protests over the party's candidate lists. It since appears to have picked itself up and carried on with the race.
Not even provincial leader Marius Fransman's sudden stomp to the Western Cape High Court to ask why he has not been cleared internally yet of a sexual assault accusation, could put a dampener on the excited chatter at a brunch for the ANC's southern suburbs candidates on Tuesday.
Glen Geswindt is standing in Ward 62, which includes wealthy Constantia, Bishopscourt, Kirstenbosch, upper Claremont and some of Table Mountain.
But the DA there, under Elizabeth Brunette, has become ''very never mind'', he said. ''They think the whites will vote for them again.''
Complaints have not been addressed and if there is action, it is only in specific areas.
Geswindt has served as an office manager for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the provincial parliament, and a stint as communications and marketing manager for the Western Cape provincial Treasury.
Muizenberg Ward 64 candidate Lorraine Moko will be running in an area that has always been DA with David D'Alton the ward councillor but her experiences with people needing help in the community have led her to believe that residents are ready for change.
In an area where property prices range from a modest R750 000 to R14 million, residents are struggling to keep up with high rates and the poor are being overlooked, she said. A fishing community in Kalk Bay was having an especially hard time trying to afford the high school fees in the area.
''I am talking about a beautiful ward, but drive at night and you will see the homelessness,'' said the business science student.
Thandi Njuti will have her hands full with Ward 115, which includes Sea Point, Tamboerskloof, the CBD and Woodstock which hold many of the city's jewels and tourist attractions, but also some of its festering sores.
Ward 73 candidate Jason Adams, who has completed studies in tourism and is currently busy with a business and public management course, would like to forge stronger partnerships between the city and government departments in Meadowridge, Bergvliet and Plumstead.
This would be for training programmes to create jobs and to help people improve their skills.
Nomceba Mhlauli, who will contest Ward 59 which runs from Rondebosch to Plumstead, lamented the shortage of reasonably priced available student accommodation in her potential constituency.
She questioned why the city sold land to developers who built student accommodation but then set the rentals extremely high.
''The southern suburbs are extremely expensive,'' she says.
Mitchells Plain Ward 82 councillor Sulyman Stellenboom is hoping to oust DA councillor Sheval Arendse, who had faced accusations of corruption relating to water metres.
Proportional Representation (PR) candidate Nigel Williams said it appeared as though the DA had suddenly woken up and realised it had a fight on its hands in Cape Town.
''One day you wake up and suddenly the whole of Mitchell's Plain is full of speed bumps,'' he said.
''It is like the mayor is telling the candidates: 'You need to spend the budget now!','' said Williams.
The ANC has selected Xolani Sotashe as its mayoral candidate for the city.
Current ANC councillor Majdie Abrahams, said the city may crow about many of its improvements, but there are areas in Cape Town that have not had upgrades since the people were ''dumped'' there in apartheid-era forced removals.
''The DA is like an ostrich with its head in the ground,'' he said.
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