The DA’s secret plan to win votes in Gauteng, which is expected to be the most hotly contested province in the national general elections next year, involves a sharp focus on the pressure that the influx of “illegal” foreigners place on basic services, such as health.
City Press can reveal today that the DA’s campaign for next year’s elections will focus on “undocumented” immigrants from outside South Africa.
A DA leader said the issue of “undocumented” immigrants is going to be one of the key messages the party will sell to voters in its bid to wrestle power from the ANC.
“The issue appeals to most South Africans,” the source said. “We are going to tell South Africans that if you go to a hospital you will not find a bed because the bed has been taken up by an undocumented immigrant, one of many who are putting a strain on health resources.”
Another insider said “undocumented” immigrants posed a security threat to the country.
“We don’t have a problem with foreigners but they must be in the country legally,” the source said.
The alleged problems that have been blamed on illegal foreigners include taking jobs from South Africans and being involved in crimes, such as car hijackings, cash-in-transit heists and stock theft.
DA Gauteng leader John Moodey decried lawlessness in the province. He said the influx of foreigners had put a strain on hospitals, clinics and schools.
“We need to know how many foreigners are in the country. It is a holistic approach. You can’t run a business in South Africa and not pay taxes,” Moodey said.
“It is not about kicking out foreigners.
Unemployment is extremely high. Foreigners are perceived to be taking away jobs from South Africans,” he said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane told City Press this week the party wanted to work with home affairs to ensure foreigners were documented.
“Johannesburg attracts more than 3 000 people every month and not all of those people are registered. We need to secure our borders to ensure immigration is properly controlled,” he said.
The party’s other plans to win votes include professionalising the police service, creating jobs, upscaling education and improving infrastructure.
Maimane said the party would present its vision about creating jobs to the people of Gauteng.
“The biggest challenge is that people don’t have work here. The other issue that is becoming problematic is that our citizens don’t feel safe,” Maimane said.
The DA, which has set its sights on winning Gauteng and Northern Cape, and retaining Western Cape, hopes to bring the ANC to below 50% in Gauteng.
It wants to be an official opposition party in North West and grow in other provinces.
The ANC received 53.59% and the DA 30.78% votes in Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, in the 2014 general election.
The DA has moved its headquarters from Cape Town to Johannesburg in what is seen by many as an indication that the party is serious about winning Gauteng.
However, there is fear that the DA’s internal battles, including the saga over Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, might cost the party votes in the elections.
Despite these fears, Maimane remained optimistic that the DA would perform exceptionally well in the elections.
“We are deploying our activists in every corner to talk to South Africans about their aspirations. The ANC is struggling here in Gauteng. The ANC killed people at Life Esidimeni,” Maimane said.
The DA is targeting an extra 1.2 million votes in the national polls.
The ANC’s head of elections Fikile Mbalula described the DA running everything from Gauteng as “interesting”.
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