Yolandé Stander and John Harvey
A CROWD of about 400 DA supporters gathered at the New Horizons Community Hall in Plettenberg Bay last night where party leader and Western Cape premier Helen Zille was canvassing support for the town’s upcoming Ward 4 by-election.
Should the DA win the ward – which comprises part of KwaNokuthula township and New Horizons – on August 7, it will give the party an outright majority in the Bitou Municipality.
During the meeting, Zille and other leaders emphasised the DA should no longer rely on coalitions, as it currently had with COPE, but gain outright majorities.
The DA is contesting seven by-elections on the Garden Route.
Zille told the audience: “We have a golden opportunity on August 7. It is important because we can control Bitou on our own. We don’t want this [win] because we want the power, but because we want to implement our policies.”
She said since the DA-led coalition took power in 2011, a new school and new library had been built in New Horizons and a new school in KwaNokuthula. “That is what we can do in a coalition, imagine what we can do if we have an outright majority.”
Bitou mayor Memory Booysen said the DA’s coalition with COPE was on dangerous ground as Mosiuoa Lekota’s leadership battle with Mbhazima Shilowa could see the latter aligning with the ANC. “If that happens, we will be back to square one, we will be going backwards,” he said.
Earlier, Zille conducted a walking tour, visiting schools and clinics in KwaNokuthula which traditionally has been an ANC stronghold.
In the last election, the township was a hotly contested area in Bitou with the DA councillor losing by only 124 votes.
However, ANC diehards maintained that Zille would never be the answer, or at the very least, she should work together with the ruling party.
“I am ANC for life. All I want the ruling party to do is to create a bright future for my grandchildren,” resident Monica Xhwelesha said.