COPE and DA heavyweights braved yesterday’s poor weather in their bid to woo Nelson Mandela Bay voters ahead of the hotly contested by-elections on Wednesday.
The by-elections in ward 55 (Motherwell), ward 26 (Zwide) and ward 15 (New Brighton) follow the death of three ANC councillors in a car accident in January.
They will determine whether the ANC retains its outright majority of 63 seats in the metro council.
The opposition parties hold 57 seats.
Speaking to supporters at Sisonke Community Centre, in Zwide, COPE president Mosiuoa Lekota likened the party to the mythical Phoenix, saying: “If anyone thought or wrote an article saying COPE was gone they must eat those words. People are saying they want COPE, not the DA, to lead them. That is what we also want. There will be no turning back from here.”
He took a few potshots at the ANC, saying it was a party rocked by factionalism.
“In Nelson Mandela Bay there are ANC groupings of [regional chairman Nceba] Faku, there is [mayor Zanoxolo] Wayile and [former MEC Thobile] Mhlahlo. Any organisation that forgets the people who voted for it, no matter how powerful it may be . the sun will set on that party. That is the end of an organisation. Iphelile (It’s finished),” Lekota said to loud applause.
Saying that he knew ANC regional chairman Faku personally, Lekota said in Xhosa: “How many times must we keep up with Faku nemikhuba yakhe (his tendencies)? I know Faku from Robben Island. I told him: imikhuba ayizukumsa ndawo (his tendencies won’t take him anywhere).”
But COPE’s poor performance in the municipal elections disappointed DA leader Helen Zille, who said if the party had performed better the DA would have been able to enter into a coalition and wrest the metro from the ANC.
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, who also campaigned in the three wards yesterday, told supporters outside the Red Location Museum: “The situation of people living here is still the same – no lights, water and basic services. If we win we will be one step closer to becoming a governing party in the Mandela metro.”
Article source: http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article4410355.ece