DA election manifesto launch in Johannesburg. (Genevieve Quintal, News24)
Johannesburg – Politics is about the numbers at the polls and not about whether you can fill a stadium, DA Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral candidate Athol Trollip said on Saturday.
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"Filling stadiums is just a gimmick, politics is about the numbers at voting stations that we have convinced we're on the right trend; our trend is a growth trend in Nelson Mandela Bay and the ANC’s is a downward trend that they have not been able to stop in the past six elections."
The DA was launching its local government election manifesto at the 30 000-seater Rand Stadium, south of Johannesburg.
By noon on Saturday the opposition party said more than 20 000 had entered the stadium ahead of its leader Mmusi Maimane's address.
This comes a week after the ANC launched its manifesto in Port Elizabeth to a stadium that was two-thirds full.
While tens of thousands attended the event, the ANC was not able to pull the numbers it used to, which could be said to be a low point for the party, especially at what was the official launch of its election campaign, Trollip said.
This year's local elections are set to be a fight for the country's metros, including Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
DA gunning for Nelson Mandela Bay
Trollip said he was convinced more than ever that the DA will win the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality on August 3.
"We hope to win with an outright majority so we can implement our policies," he said.
Speaking ahead of Maimane's address, Trollip said the DA's manifesto will focus on three key areas – corruption, job creation and service delivery.
"The ANC cannot stop the revolving door of corruption.
"There are thousands of examples of people who should not be anywhere near government, who the government puts into positions," he said, referring to former World Cup security boss Linda Mti, who has been approached to be the Nelson Mandela Bay metro's new head of safety and security.
The DA's second focus would be on job creation, which Trollip said is created at local government level.
The ANC had proved that it could not do this.
Jobs had to be created by business people on the ground at local level.
"A job is the only way to give people dignity.
"We’ve got a section of our population in South Africa who is so dependent on government that government can manipulate them at every turn. They do it at every election – they bring food parcels and T-shirts and people vote for them."
The DA wants to change that and make sure people are independent and able to stand alone, he said.
Infrastructure falling apart
On service delivery, Trollip said infrastructure was falling apart in the country and when the ANC could not balance its budget it cut infrastructure spending.
Trollip said if the budget for infrastructure is cut, eventually the country would fall apart.
"We have some amazing infrastructure in South Africa, obviously we need to build a whole lot more.
"There were many people and communities left out when infrastructure was designed and built by the previous government but this government’s not doing well enough on infrastructure… [and] they are not maintaining existing infrastructure – and that can only be done through service delivery."
Also speaking ahead of the official programme, Cape Town mayoral candidate Patricia De Lille said she did not believe people should complain if they do not vote.
There were people who had fought hard for freedom and died for that freedom, she said.
"Your vote is valuable. If people decide not to go and vote and exercise their right to vote for change then afterwards they should not complain because then they deserve the government that they get."