Nqaba Bhanga announced as DA Eastern Cape premier candidate

Nqaba Bhanga was elected as the party’s provincial leader during the congress of May 2017. (Netwerk24)

Nqaba Bhanga was elected as the party’s provincial leader during the congress of May 2017. (Netwerk24)

Nqaba Bhanga will spearhead the Democratic Alliance’s battle for the “crucial” province of the Eastern Cape as the party’s premier candidate for the 2019 elections, party leader Mmusi Maimane announced on Wednesday in Port Elizabeth.

Bhanga was elected as the party’s provincial leader during the congress of May 2017. He was originally a member of the Congress of the People (Cope)  but according to Maimane, he moved to the DA in 2014 after interacting with ousted Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip on the “urgent need for change in the province”.

Maimane said Nqaba will carry “on his shoulders the responsibility of offering the people of this province a realistic alternative to the ANC government.”

“At 41 years of age, Nqaba is part of a new generation of DA leaders who bring with them the energy and the vision to rebuild our country after decades of misrule under the ANC,” Maimane said.

The challenges of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro

The party has spent the past two weeks in the province trying to salvage its position in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro following coalition challenges.

The DA has been accused by its coalition partners — the EFF and the United Democratic Movement (UDM) — of arrogance for allegedly making decisions on governance issues in the metro without consulting them.

In turn, the DA has lashed out at the UDM for allowing itself to be used in what it describes an EFF-ANC “coalition of corruption”.

Trollip was removed from his position during a contentious council meeting last week and was replaced by the UDM’s Mongameli Bobani.

After the meeting, Bhanga lashed out at the opposition parties, accusing them of cooperating to “fill their coffers” ahead of the 2019 elections.

“This decision by the unholy alliance of the ANC, EFF and UDM is in order to fill their own party coffers with public funds and bring looting back ahead of the 2019 elections. The ANC and the EFF have rejected the will of the people in favour of enriching themselves,” he said.

READ MORE: Trollip ousted in ‘sham’ council meeting

Maimane confirmed that the DA would file court papers to review Trollip’s removal and have it declared invalid and Trollip remains adamant that he is still the mayor.

READ MORE: DA to launch urgent court bid to challenge Trollip removal

Mashadi Kekana

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