DA: ‘We will provide services to Mpumalanga municipalities’

MBOMBELA – DA provincial leader, Mr James Masango is not concerned with the party’s membership numbers. He wants votes.

“People who used to vote for the ANC, the unemployed have a duty to vote for jobs. People who are fed-up with corruption, People who want to see service delivery. Make me stop talking about Cape Town and Midvaal. Let us have our own here in Mpumalanga,” he recently told Lowvelder.

Officially the DA aims to wrest control away from the ANC in Dipaleseng and Steve Tshwete local municipalities. Masango said the EFF was hot on their heels there though.

“People with nothing to lose can say whatever they want and never be accountable. Government is limited by a budget. You can’t say everything must be free. Government relies on money for services.

“They come from corruption. They are the same people. They are only making a big noise about corruption because they are not in power.”

He added that where alliances needed to be formed after August 3, the party would be very careful about who it got into bed with. “The party will have to apply its mind. Every situation is going to be unique. For now we are focused on winning.”

He critisised other opposition parties for being vocal about race. “There can be that perception that you cannot take race out of politics, but once you start saying it, it becomes dangerous. Do you want a divided country? In Africa, if you are not careful about colour, you go to ethnicity. We want a South Africa that is united.”

The party has also been critisised for its “undemocratic” process of selecting ward representatives.

“The public can’t nominate candidates. That is what voting is for,” Masango said.

“The party should present its candidates and let the people vote. Otherwise you lose accountability. If the councillor is not performing and people complain, what must the party do to someone it didn’t select? It is running away from responsibility.”

He added, “We need young blood. In wards we need energy. Also our research shows our voters are 25 to 35 years old. We need young people to bring them out to vote, people who speak their language.”

How would the party handle inheriting dysfunctional municipalities? “It is going to happen. We will start at basic service delivery. It doesn’t help to come with grand projects.

“The ANC wants to stay in power, so it doesn’t want to make unpopular decisions. People don’t want to make illegal connections, but they have been asking for services and nothing happens.

“We will put our foot down. We won’t fight with the community, but for all of us to benefit we need money. If people don’t pay for services, the municipality doesn’t have any money to supply services to all people.”

  AUTHOR
Mireille de Villiers
Journalist

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