Former premier Balindlela explains her move back to ANC

Nosimo Balindlela. File photo.
Nosimo Balindlela. File photo.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

The Eastern Cape’s rising poverty levels are the main reason why former premier Nosimo Balindlela ditched the DA and – in a shock move – returned to her original political home, the ANC.

Another reason for going back to the ANC fold, she said Monday night, was the man at the helm of the ruling party – President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Tuesday (15/05/18) is officially Balindlela’s last day at the DA.

“There is no other reason [for leaving the DA] than the poverty levels in this province, I have to admit, [and] that is why it had not been an easy decision to make,” she said.

“I wanted to go to the ANC to see if they can turn things around.”

According to Statistics South Africa, the Eastern Cape has the highest number of poor residents at 72.9%, followed by Limpopo at 72.4%.

Balindlela said the DA did not tackle poverty with as much vigour as she would have liked.

“The DA lacks action on poverty, that’s why I left.

“On the other hand, President Cyril Ramaphosa brings with him fresh hope.

“I told him I want nothing but to serve the poor and the marginalised.

“When I left the ANC [in 2008] there was no direction and a lot of corruption, but now we have the chance to turn things around.”

Prior to joining the DA in 2012, Balindlela had a four-year stint at COPE.

“I don’t blame people for thinking that I can’t make up my mind politically, but they have to understand that change is part of one’s development,” she said.

DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga said Balindlela had spoken to leaders of the party weeks before she resigned and informed them of her decision.

He would not be drawn on Balindlela’s comments on the province’s poverty levels and his party’s alleged lack of action.

Instead, he said the DA was saddened by her leaving as she was an important member of the party.

“What we like is how she handled the matter. She handled it with dignity and even said there was nothing she was unhappy about in the [DA].

“We still love her a lot and we as an organisation are looking to the future, looking at leading the country, and we’ll continue strengthening the party ahead of the elections.”

Bhanga said Balindlela’s decision was not well informed as the ANC was not the solution for the people of the country.

“The DA is the alternative for the future. The DA remains that hope that will take South Africa forward.

“She’ll miss that opportunity of forming a new government in 2019.

“However, we’ve got a very strong contingent of young leaders who are attractive to the people of the Eastern Cape,” he said.

Political analyst Ongama Mtimka said Balindlela’s leaving the DA might not be a good reflection on her.

“I say that carefully, but it is understandable given the circumstances. Her moving back to the ANC might signal to others who had left the party that it might be time to move back home, as it were,” he said.

“When she joined the DA in 2012, she was quoted as saying she follows organisations with credible leaders, and that she saw that in [former DA leader] Helen Zille.

“So her return to the ANC might be that Ramaphosa’s leadership is appealing to her.”