Ward 32 backs DA

2017-03-31 14:32
DA KZN deputy leader Mergan Chetty, DA ward 32 councillor-elect Shawn Adkins and DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango addressed local media at the city hall on Thursday following the party’s 53,6% win in the Ward 32 by-election.

DA KZN deputy leader Mergan Chetty, DA ward 32 councillor-elect Shawn Adkins and DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango addressed local media at the city hall on Thursday following the party’s 53,6% win in the Ward 32 by-election. (Omega Moagi)

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The DA won ward 32 with 53,5% of the votes cast in the by-election there Wednesday in a victory that party leader Zwakele Mncwango said was against all odds.

Addressing the media at the city hall on Thursday, Mncwango said voters proved that they were the employers of councillors and not political parties or individuals.

“We are gearing up for 2019. People are ready for change. What is clear is that the race card doesn’t work anymore. South Africans are desperate for jobs and services. Although the ANC tried to discredit the DA using the race card, the voters have spoken.”

DA votes grew by 6,6% from the previous elections and Mncwango said the DA was the only party that has shown growth from the previous elections. “It is important to note that if we had lost this ward we would have lost a seat. This is why the ANC was fighting so hard for us to lose,” said Mncwango.

He said mobilising votes in KZN was significant for the party to obtain leadership nationally.

“KZN is one of two provinces that have changed political parties.

“KZN voters first gave the IFP an opportunity and when they failed they gave the ANC a chance and now the ANC has also failed, so it is important to note that the KZN voters — as they have shown before — can always change their vote,”

This week’s victory in ward 32, Mcwango said, was achieved primarily through the party’s youth interaction with the residents of Woodlands. “The Malema style has confused people about the role of the youth. South Africans now have this view that to be a leader within your structure you must be critical of your leaders and your robustness lies in attacking elders in particular.

“Unfortunately that is not the DA’s programme,” said Mcwango.

The councillor-elect, Shawn Adkins, said as a resident of the ward he knew first-hand what the challenges faced by the area were.

These included youth unemployment as well as the lack of infrastructure development, he said.

“As the DA we worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this by-election, which produced only the right results. We believe that the people have voted based on nothing else but the content of our character,” said Adkins, who added that he would continue to “work tirelessly” to ensure the interests the residents of ward 32 are served.

The DA deputy provincial leader Mergan Chetty, who has been in the forefront of the campaign leading up to the by-election, criticised the ANC for deploying MECs to the ward on the eve of the by-election. “[MP] Mervyn Dirks and Francis Bantham must not fear because we will provide services to them because they are now living in a DA ward,” said Chetty.

Dirks said the DA campaign was based on racial slander.

“They were going around preaching to residents that the ANC has stolen your money and now they want to steal your ward. However, we are confident that we will win the ward back because as has been proven in the past, racism is not sustainable,” said Dirks.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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