/ 17 May 2011

‘Mandela Bay is down to the wire’

'mandela Bay Is Down To The Wire'

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can win Nelson Mandela Bay from the African National Congress (ANC) in the local government elections, party leader Helen Zille said as she wrapped up campaigning in townships around the metro on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have been here five times and there is a chance we can win it if our supporters come out and vote,” Zille said after speaking to the party faithful in the Stamati Valley area outside Port Elizabeth. “It will all boil down to who comes out and votes tomorrow [Wednesday].”

Zille said the DA had been “scientific” in its approach to the elections and in deciding which areas to focus its campaigning on.

“We look at the numbers very carefully. We monitor the movements on a chart. Mandela Bay is down to the wire.”

‘I’ve seen what poor delivery means’
Zille said she had seen “the meaning of poor service delivery” as she toured the townships around the city on a double-decker campaign bus on Tuesday morning.

“I’ve seen what poor delivery means in practice. Looking from the bus today it was quite obvious.”

Piles of rubbish lined the sides of the streets on much of the route the DA bus passed through. Many of the roads were dotted with potholes.

“We would obviously love to win another metro and show people what difference the DA can make to their lives.”

Zille started her tour in the mainly coloured suburb of Helenvale, where she was greeted by supporters waving DA flags and families who rushed to their gates to wave to her as the party’s motorcade drove by.

The bus was mobbed by DA supporters as it drove through Missionvale, a township of shacks and Reconstruction and Development Programme houses.

“When you go to vote tomorrow, listen to your heart and your heart is going to say DA,” Zille said in an impromptu stop outside a shop in Kleinskool.

People living in the area said they were tired of not having basic services like water and electricity.

Davidene Fortuin (18) said she was looking forward to voting in her first election.

“I’m voting for Zille. I trust her. We don’t have things like electricity and running water.

“I live in a shack with my family. We need someone like her to help us. I don’t like politicians, but Zille is different.”

Appels Phiri (19) said she was tired of seeing her family “sukkeling” (battling). “Whoever I vote for tomorrow, they must make a difference. They must fix things,” she said.

Crowds waving ANC flags and dancing and singing converged on the DA bus at each of its stops.

“We are not making trouble,” a man in an ANC T-shirt said. “We were merely passing by and Zille happened to be here.”

Zille said she had grown used to disruptions from the ANC.

“The ANC is allowed to dance wherever they like. This is a free country. Everywhere I’ve been the ANC has followed. They find a street corner and they begin to toyi-toyi.

“The important thing is wherever we have been, we have outnumbered them five to one.”

On the route, a police vehicle pulled in front of an ANC motorcade that was using loudhailers urging people not to vote for the DA, and prevented it from moving towards the DA bus.

Zille was due to travel to Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon for a last round of campaigning. She will return to Port Elizabeth on Wednesday. — Sapa

For exclusively M&G articles and multimedia on the local government elections 2011 click here: