Party out to make inroads in province’s rural areas

Taking the DA to rural areas and strengthening its structure were top of the agenda at the first provincial executive committee meeting held in Grahamstown on Friday.

DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga announced the fully fledged PEC yesterday following his election victory in East London earlier this month.

New additions to the committee include three new chairpersons for various portfolios – Malcom Figg in finance, Jane Cowley for fundraising and disciplinary chairwoman Vicky Knoetze.

Mlindi Nhanha will assume the role of committee spokesman. Karen Smith leads the Association of Democratic Alliance councillors as chairwoman and Celeste Barker is the provincial DA Women’s Network chairwoman.

Rashied Adams is acting provincial youth chairman.

The new committee members join the rest of the team – deputy provincial leaders Bobby Stevenson and Terence Fritz, provincial chairman Andrew Whitfield, and deputy provincial chairmen Yusuf Cassim, Kobus Botha and Marshall von Buchenroder. Bhanga said the meeting focused heavily on upcoming visits to the royal kingdoms in the province.

“I will be visiting all of the five kings in the Eastern Cape,” he said.

“Our commitment is to take the DA to rural areas; we also have great respect for the royal kings and chiefs in the province.

“We want to introduce our leadership and tell them about the work we are going to do.”

They had also discussed engaging leaders in the religious and business fraternities.

Bhanga said they would visit all DA constituencies in the province in preparation for “when the DA takes over the province in the 2019 general elections”.

The visits are part of Bhanga’s plans to traverse corners of the province that are traditionally ANC strongholds to convince the electorate to give the DA a chance.

Other matters that were discussed were strengthening the party’s women’s network, youth congress and students’ organisation.

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