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One-on-one with the DA’s KZN Premier Candidate

Chris Pappas’ surge in popularity has bolstered the party’s confidence in the province, leading to his selection as the DA's premier candidate for KwaZulu-Natal.

It was a scorching hot Friday afternoon (November 24) when the Newcastle Advertiser caught up with the popular Umngeni mayor and DA candidate for Kwazulu-Natal Premier, after a full day of campaigning in the Amajuba District.

After stops in Wards three and five, Osizweni, Kilkeel,Kwa-Mdakane and Koppie Allen, he sat down with the media at the Newcastle Club to speak about politics, issues he has identified in Newcastle and possible solutions, the DA’s plan for the future of Newcastle as well as how he thinks the DA will fare in the upcoming elections.

Being young, ambitious, and gay, he appeals to a wider range of South Africans and serves as the ideal “poster child” for a non-racial South Africa in a country where politics are heavily influenced by race. His fluency in isiZulu has amped up his likeability factor, especially in KZN rural areas where the ability to speak to people in their own language is an ’ace up his sleeve.

“Newcastle’s potential as a big urban area has not been fully realised. There is capital, decent infrastructure and everything needed to make the town an inland hub of activity which is not the case now and that’s a shame,” he begins.

Newcastle is not unique to the challenges that it faces as there is a lot of suffering and hopelessness (everywhere) – however, all problems have practical solutions. People have seen the level of decay – it is the small things that are not getting done,

Pappas is quick to say though that the problems are not without practical solutions. “The solutions are not difficult, they are doable. There is a blueprint for change,” he remarked.

Using Umngeni municipality, the only DA-run municipality in the province as an example of successful governance, he pointed out that the municipality had similar challenges as those in Newcastle; however, the party were able to turn things around and achieve success in the small semi-rural area.

“We inherited a lot of problems in Umngeni but the right thing we did was to be transparent when trying to solve the problems. You, prioritise, make difficult decisions ,open up to your residents and take them along with your decisions.

Looking towards the future, Papas stressed the importance of the revival of small towns such as Newcastle which once had thriving industry and economy. To do that, water and sanitation have to be the priority in KZN.

“There is a need to make people less dependent on the system because the fact is people want to work. We also have to re-educate and re-engineer our society,” he stated.

For the full story, pick up the latest copy of the Newcastle Advertiser. 



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