Bold in blue to impress

Athol Trollip
Athol Trollip

They come from different political parties but these campaign managers have one thing in common – they are all after your vote. Reporters THULANI GQIRANA and MKHULULI NDAMASE take a closer look at the people who are likely to come knocking on your doorstep.

YOU might have seen its election posters on the streets and possibly received an SMS or two nudging you to vote. So do not be surprised when Athol Trollip comes knocking on your door sporting a blue beret.

It is all part of the DA’s election strategy driven by Trollip as the party tries to make some serious gains in South Africa’s third-biggest province. The party is using everything from posters, pamphlets and billboards to Facebook and Twitter to capture voters in the province.

As the provincial head who has led the party for more than 10 years, DA premier candidate Trollip, 50, said it believed it was making strides in pushing the party to the forefront of voters’ minds.

Born in Bedford, Trollip was elected as the DA’s leader in the province in 2002 and served as an MPL until 2009.

In 2007, he unsuccessfully ran for party leader against Helen Zille and in 2009 became an MP.

In October 2011, he was defeated in his bid for re-election as parliamentary leader of the party by fellow MP Lindiwe Mazibuko. Last year, Trollip left the National Assembly to return to the Eastern Cape legislature to head the election campaign.

Last year, he welcomed controversial AbaThembu king Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo to the party, with much fanfare.

This year, he voted against Mamphela Ramphele being the party’s presidential candidate after the DA took a gamble and offered the top post to the Agang leader.

“Our campaign is nowhere near finished but we have been at it since the end of the last elections in 2009. We did really well in 2011, when the opposition parties, including the DA, came within 1% of winning the metro.

“We plan to do better next time than we did then. Traditionally we do better at local government elections than national.”

He said the next two months would be an exciting time to campaign in the Eastern Cape and the party had already started making inroads by targeting pupils.

“We have spent the last few years identifying new voters, which include the born-frees.”

He said they had also spent a lot of time and money on phone canvassing. “We will be rolling out a poster campaign, handing out pamphlets with specific messages and there will be highprofile leadership events. There will be door-todoor campaigns, town hall meetings. Our campaign is fully up and running.

“Party uniforms are part of South African politics and our blue T-shirts have become a prominent brand . . . there is no confusion about the blue berets.” – Thulani Gqirana

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