The DA plans to fight tooth and nail to snatch the highly contested Nelson Mandela Bay metro in the Eastern Cape during the local government elections next week.
The opposition party’s focus is on toppling the governing ANC in the general election in 2019. However, it believes if it wins four powerful metros, including Johannesburg and Tshwane in the August 3 local government elections, the move would lay a foundation for it to unseat the ANC. But the ruling party is not willing to hand the key metros to the DA on a silver platter.
“If you start controlling key metro cities and provinces, you become an alternative government,” DA’s Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral candidate Athol Trollip said yesterday. “We have been saying that, by 2019, we want to present South Africans with an alternative.”
In an interview on the sidelines of the party’s visit to the Soweto on Sea informal settlement outside Port Elizabeth, Trollip said winning Nelson Mandela Bay metro would set the party up to win the province in 2019.
“We believe that when we win Nelson Mandela Bay, it will set us up for the foundation to win this province.”
A confident Trollip said that if the DA won Johannesburg and Tshwane, it could certainly win Gauteng in 2019. He said the ANC had become “vindictive and nasty because it could see it was going to lose some of the key metros”.
Meanwhile, the EFF also wanted a piece of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro. It dispatched its national chairperson, Dali Mpofu, to Motherwell, one of the biggest townships in the country, in a push for votes at the weekend.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the party was contesting “everything, everywhere” for the local elections.
“There is no place where we are not contesting,” Ndlozi said. “Our campaign went well.”
United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa said his party had not identified the Nelson Mandela Bay metro as a must-win.
“Everywhere we contest, we aim to win,” Holomisa said.
“We have not identified any municipality. We are a small fry. Let the big guys dream.”
Responding to the ANC and DA battle for control of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, Holomisa described it as “madness”.