Elections 2021: DA is determined to stop the IEC from reopening candidate registrations - Steenhuisen

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DA leader John Steenhuisen and Stellenbosch mayor and candidate for a second term Gesie van Deventer in Stellenbosch. Next Van Deventer is DA MP Leon Schreiber, with DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone in the background.
DA leader John Steenhuisen and Stellenbosch mayor and candidate for a second term Gesie van Deventer in Stellenbosch. Next Van Deventer is DA MP Leon Schreiber, with DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone in the background.
Jan Gerber
  • The DA will do everything possible to fight the IEC's decision to reopen the registration of candidates.
  • John Steenhuisen believes the ANC's failure to field candidates in the Western Cape could be the death knell for the party in the province.
  • He was campaigning in Stellenbosch, one of the party's "flagship municipalities", which it holds up as a model of DA governance.

The DA will do everything in its power to fight the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) decision to reopen the registration of candidates ahead of the 1 November local government poll, according to DA leader John Steenhuisen.

Steenhuisen was at a campaign event in one of the DA's "flagship municipalities", Stellenbosch, on Thursday.

For Steenhuisen, the ANC's failure to field PR candidates in any of the Western Cape municipalities could spell the death knell for the party in the province.

"The only lifeline the ANC is clinging to is the decision by its deployed cadres in the IEC," he said.

The DA has already approached the Constitutional Court for an order to prevent the IEC from reopening candidate registration.

Steenhuisen said the IEC had created a precedent by not reopening candidate registrations in 2011 when the IFP failed to submit lists on time and, in 2016, when the NFP failed to submit lists.

Steenhuisen asked, rhetorically:

If a party cannot even get candidates in for an election, how can you trust them to run that municipality?

Steenhuisen encouraged people to register this coming weekend.

"Let's put that nail in the ANC's coffin this election!" he said, repeating the phrase in Afrikaans.

A central theme to the DA's campaigning for this election is its record in governance.

Steenhuisen held up Stellenbosch, which the party has governed since 2011, as an example of "what is possible when a DA local government receives a strong enough mandate to clean up a town, stabilise its finances, plan well ahead and prioritise service delivery for all the municipality's residents".

He said after the municipality swung back and forth between the DA and ANC for the first decade of this century, due to floor crossings and defections, voters handed the DA an outright majority in Stellenbosch in 2011, with the DA winning 25 seats in the 43-seat council, and then strengthened this majority in 2016 to 30 seats.

He said:

The result today is a municipality that has benefitted from back-to-back DA local governments and is now seeing the rewards of a decade of long-term planning and projects, as can be seen in this impressive list of government successes.

"This is a town that works, and the reason it works is because the DA gets things done."

The mayor of Stellenbosch, Gesie van Deventer, outlined some of her administration's successes in terms of housing – including middle-income housing in the notoriously pricey Winelands town.

She said backyarders were still a problem, which she intends to address if re-elected.

The municipality has become water independent - and has also done much work to cut ties with Eskom for its electricity supply.

READ | Elections 2021: ANC accuses DA of attacking integrity of IEC in court battle

"One of the things that really makes me angry is how Eskom disrupts our economy," she said.

Van Deventer said the "next big fight" would be about transport.

Steenhuisen and DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone led chants of "five more years!" for Van Deventer.

A Covid-compliant small group of about 30 people in blue T-shirts attended the event in front of the municipal building in Andringa Street.

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