/ 3 February 2018

DA KZN strategy moves past taking on ‘the man from Nkandla’

Balls-up: Helen Zille’s foot-in-mouth tweet about colonialism has put Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in a jam. Photo: Paul Botes
Balls-up: Helen Zille’s foot-in-mouth tweet about colonialism has put Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in a jam. Photo: Paul Botes

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has told the party’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial congress that it needs to go beyond “taking on the man from Nkandla” and turn itself into a stable government wherever it had taken power because of the easy target President Jacob Zuma had presented.

Maimane told the congress, held in Durban, that while the party had achieved what many would have thought impossible by taking the Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg Metros, it had also made serious gains in KwaZulu-Natal in the 2016 local government elections. The DA now had branches all over the province and had increased its number of councillors from 150 councillors to 201, an increase of 11.88% of the vote in 2011 to 17.4% in 2016.

Maimane said these gains also brought with them dangers.

“The view ahead is filled with danger and risk. The political playing field has changed. We can no longer can we satisfy ourselves by merely taking on the man from Nkandla, who has so harmed our country this past decade, and who gave us an easy target to aim at,” he said.

Maimane said some DA governments did not “live up to the standard we set for ourselves” because of infighting and division that came with growth in size as a party.

“We can grow and be a real alternative government, or we can shrink into oblivion,” he said.

Maimane – who will pay a courtesy call to King Goodwill Zwelithini at Nongoma on Sunday – said that the party would support the recommendations of the high level panel headed by former President Kgalema Motlanthe around the repeal of the Ingonyama Trust and the return of control of the land to ordinary people in rural areas. 

The Trust controls three million hectares of tribal land in KwaZulu-Natal, which was signed over to it, and the monarch, by the KwaZulu bantustan government on the eve of the 1994 elections. As a result, rural people in KwaZulu-Natal cannot hold title deed on the land their land. The Trust has been identified by the panel as a key impediment to transformation.

“One of the most important ways to change the lives of poor rural people immediately is to give them the security of knowing that their land cannot be seized or expropriated from them arbitrarily.

We are the party that will protect the constitutional guarantee of property rights, even while all those around us seek to abandon that cornerstone of progress in every society,” he said.

The DA would “stand up for the property rights of poor rural people living on tribal land’’ and a DA government would ‘’give them security of tenure for the land their families have lived and worked on for decades,” Maimane said.

He said this did not mean traditional leadership should be dismantled.

Maimane said the DA needed to recruit excellent young black candidates for its 2019 candidate lists and ensure that the party became truly diverse.

Provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango is standing for a second term. The post is being contested by South Coast councillor Emmanuel Mhlongo.