DA leader, John Steenhuisen, promised the poor in Howick that the party will revamp community halls, reduce crime and provide housing to the homeless should it win the polls.
Steenhuisen made the promises during an election campaign trail in the Howick area on Saturday.
The Zuzokuhle informal settlement, Howick West and Mphophomeni were among the areas which Steenhuisen visited. He said the only way to ensure that refuse was collected consistently and water meters were billed correctly was to vote for the DA in the upcoming local government elections.
In Zuzokuhle informal settlement, Steenhuisen received a warm welcome from the residents. Steenhuisen assured them that he would take their grievances to Parliament.
Addressing those in attendance at the Howick West community hall, Steenhuisen said the DA would also address the issues around governance, economic growth and Covid-19 vaccination.
“Every time I come here there are more potholes in the street; it is time for change now,” he said.
The party leader said the DA was just a step away from snatching uMngeni from the ANC, which currently controls the council.
The DA needs to increase its current support by nine percent to win the municipality. “And if you don’t vote [for DA] you are voting for the potholes and the corruption,” said Steenhuisen.
Also in attendance was DA KwaZulu-Natal leader Francois Rodgers, along with his deputy, Christopher Pappas.
Rodgers said that prospective DA councillor candidates would go through a rigorous interview and selection process over the next two weeks.
“Ineffective cadre deployment is the problem but that is where the DA is different. Our candidates have had to do online tests and they will go through a selection panel,” said Pappas.
In Mpophomeni, Steenhuisen visited two homes where residents raised their issue around services delivery.
Food parcels were also distributed to the families.
Thandeka Madlala of Mpophomeni said substance abuse continued to be a problem in the township. “We have a lot of problems in the township but we don’t know where to go. You’ve seen how dirty it is in Mpophomeni. I always wonder if the municipality is short-staffed or what the problem is.”
A resident of Zuzokuhle informal settlement, Henrietta Nxele pleaded with the party to sort out her inaccurate water bill.
Another resident also in Mpophomeni, Thandeka Madlala, asked the party to intervene as young people in the area were turning to drugs and alcohol due to their struggle to secure employment.
Steenhuisen promised the residents that DA representatives would assist them get their problems resolved.
Madikizela situation not ideal
Steenhuisen, meanwhile expressed his disappointment at allegations that the party’s Western Cape leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, may have lied on his CV about being in possession of a Bcom degree.
Madikizela, who is the Western Cape public works and transport MEC, was suspended on Friday.
It was unclear what impact this would have on Madikizela’s bid to become the next mayor of The City of Cape Town.
“This is not an ideal situation especially since it was never required for him (Madikizela) to have a degree the positions that he stood for and I don’t know how it ended up on his CV and that’s what the federal commission is busy probing but he needs to take accountability for it,” said Steenhuisen.
The leader said the provincial leadership would also see how the information got onto its website.
“These things happen and you are judged by how you deal with them and I think we have handled this correctly.
“If he has a case to answer he will be held accountable just like every DA member,” said Steenhuizen.
Meanwhile Steenhuisen described allegations that DA chief whip, Natasha Mazzone, also lied about having a law degree as a “smear campaign”.
On Friday, Mazzone was forced to come out and deny the allegations, saying it was publicly-known that she only had matric.
“It is revolting that on the day this smear campaign is launched is on the day that miss Mazzone’s father passed away. It’s insensitive,” said Steenhuisen.