DA wants Beaufort West to be 'jewel of the Karoo'

Beaufort West - The Democratic Alliance in Beaufort West feels it has a real chance of taking the municipality from the African National Congress, its mayoral candidate Koos "Jordge" Maloy said on Monday.

"We must just get the voters out on [August 3]. We want to make Beaufort West the jewel of the Karoo," said Maloy, as he entered the last stretch of an election campaign which started in January.

The ANC won the municipality in 2011, when the party got its only outright majority in the Western Cape, with 50.8% of the votes.

The DA got 41.2% and the balance was split among smaller parties.

Among them was the Independent Civic Organisation of SA (Icosa) with 4.3%. Maloy belonged to the party at the time.

This time around the ANC, Congress of the People, DA, Economic Freedom Fighters, Freedom Front Plus, SA Religious Civics Organisation, Icosa, Pan Africanist Congress, Karoo Democratic Force and independent candidate Ralph Esterhuizen will be contesting the elections.

'If the ANC offers you a food packet, take it'

The DA has controversially urged voters not to vote for smaller parties and the FF Plus has already complained about this to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC).

But, in Beaufort West it might work in the DA's favour.

"We must just make sure we get the vote. Then we are on our way."

The DA was not rattled by the Economic Freedom Fighter's first municipal election there, and believed the party is just testing the waters.

In the meantime, the town has seen a number of high ranking DA officials visit in the past few weeks, including Helen Zille, and provincial government officials who are in on a DA ticket.

Ivan Meyer, who is also the province's finance MEC, took part in a rally in the town last week.

"If the ANC offers you a food packet, take it," said Meyer at the time.

"And then vote for the DA. And take another one for your neighbour who is hungry. Take three, because there are hungry people at home," he said from his podium of a concrete picnic table.

'Crooks and gangsters'

The party's "Blue Wave" bus had been snaking through the town and had stopped for an impromptu rally on the ash-coloured earth of a children's play park.

"You in number eight, you must do that also," he said pointing, as the residents of the house looked down shyly, pulling their scarves over their mouths to hide their giggles.

"This is the heartland of the Karoo, but people are struggling because the money is mismanaged," he said, labelling the ANC councillors "crooks and gangsters".

Meyer said that when people think of Beaufort West they think of current Mayor Truman Prince, and laugh.

"On August 3, the DA is going to make Beaufort West blue."

Western Cape Speaker Sharna Fernandez was also present for the rally.

"I came here in 2014 and it is actually in a bad way," she told News24.

Said Fernandez: "I am feeling very positive. It has been a most impactful campaign. People are waking up."

- Find everything you need to know about the 2016 Local Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections, or download the app for iOS and Android.

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