DA’s Bhanga puts faith in their rural campaign

Party’s premier candidate for next year’s general elections reveals his strategy in bid to ‘ topple the ANC’

The DA’s Nqaba Bhanga says his party can save the province.
The DA’s Nqaba Bhanga says his party can save the province.
Image: MICHAEL PINYANA

With the upcoming general and provincial elections next year, the DA in the Eastern Cape announced its premier candidate and expectedly so, it revealed the name of provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga.

Politics reporter Simthandile Ford caught up with Bhanga about his plans as he hopes to convince the majority of Eastern Cape residents to place their faith in the DA in the 2019 election.

Simthandile Ford: The Eastern Cape is a largely rural province, how is your campaign hoping to penetrate this part of the province?

Nqaba Bhanga: The first priority of our campaign is the rural part of the province. It was for that reason that I have been speaking to the traditional leaders and some of the rural stakeholders. The message of the campaign is that the agricultural capacity of the province must be utilised through mentorship and how we infuse science in it. The rural land can use its advantage to grow their own food and to also go commercial.

SF: The DA has been facing a lot of challenges nationally and also in the province, where two of your most senior members resigned just days apart. How do you hope to convince others to join a party that is struggling to keep its own?

NB: The DA’s future is in the youth. The new generation will carry the vision of the DA. The (departure) of those people has not affected the DA. The brand of the DA is bigger that any individual. Even if Athol Trollip were to leave tomorrow the DA would still stand.

There is no stability in the [ANC] PEC, no stability in their municipalities. The people are seeing the works of the DA. The ANC has destroyed the Eastern Cape and all the learning facilities. It is our time to save this province.

SF: The DA has been gaining a lot of ground in the Eastern Cape, the Nelson Mandela Bay [coalition] government was a chance to display what the DA can do in the Eastern Cape. Do you think the DA has been able to properly manage its politics in Nelson Mandela Bay and has the party offered residents a stable government?

NB: There is no stability in the [ANC] PEC, no stability in their municipalities. The people are seeing the works of the DA. [The] ANC has destroyed the Eastern Cape and all the learning facilities. It is our time to save this province.

SF: You were the only person that applied to run for the premier position in DA. What was your motivation?

NB: Because when I said I wanted to be the leader of the DA, I want to a be leader of the Eastern Cape and the DA is the only party that should lead in the Eastern Cape.

SF: How do you hope to make the DA more appealing to the millions of the people of the province and what role will your provincial executive council play to help you achieve your goal.

NB: The provincial executive council recently had a strategic session where we came up with innovative ideas that will assist the party in continuing its upward trajectory in the province. The entire EC executive and constituency leaders are upbeat and positive about our growth prospects.We are energised and united in our goal to significantly improve our chances in the 2019 national and provincial elections. The Eastern Cape is a broken province in urgent need of a change of government.

SF: The DA currently has 10 seats in the provincial legislature and you are the biggest opposition. What are the issues [that you] think will be a priority for the DA should it lead in the legislature?

NB: The Eastern Cape was a pioneer in education we want to restore that.We want to make this a development site.

SF: If you do not get the first prize, which is to win the election, what do you think your growth will be in the next election?

NB: The ANC must be reduced to less than 50% in the legislature. It was done in Nelson Mandela Bay. It is possible. It can and will be done in 2019.

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