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Election fever in the air

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The crowd roared in unison as the DA leaders highlighted the failures of Eskom and SAA and pointed to the woes of load shedding, corruption, unemployment, poverty and poor service delivery

Democratic Alliance national leader Mmusi Maimane during the partys manifesto launch that took place at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in the city on the weekend. Picture: Sandi Kwon Hoo

ELECTION fever was in the air as political parties wooed voters in the city and the Province over the weekend, ahead of the national general elections that will take place in a little more than a month’s time.

As part of the election trail, ANC deputy president David Mabuza was in De Aar to conduct door-to-door visits and to meet with residents in the Nonzwakazi community hall on Saturday. Meanwhile, DA supporters filled the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre for the launch of the party’s 2019 manifesto on Saturday.

There was a pastor to lay hands on the leaders at the DA event, a bit of floor rolling from the chief whip in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, Harold McGluwa, while the chief whip in the National Assembly, John Steenhuisen, got his groove on by doing the hokey pokey on the podium.

The crowd roared in unison as the DA leaders highlighted the failures of Eskom and SAA and pointed to the woes of load shedding, corruption, unemployment, poverty and poor service delivery.

DA leader Musi Maimane indicated that should the DA come to power he would reduce the national Cabinet from 74 to 20 members.

He also discouraged voters from supporting “small” political parties in the national general elections.

“This will merely serve to weaken the opposition. We are aiming to go big and will only consider coalition agreements after the elections.”

Maimane stated that it was “dangerous” for political parties to target mono-racial groups.

“We believe in equal rights for all citizens. The Good party was formed out of anger. People want competent people in government. We are promising that at least one person in each household will have a job.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa is always shocked – when the train gets stuck he is shocked. If the lights go off, or if his son receives money, he is shocked. Ramaphosa should take responsibility for the collapse of Eskom.”

DA provincial leader Andrew Louw, who said that the party is confident of gaining 14 seats in the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature and six seats from province to national, promised to turn around the Province, which he said was run down, in the next five years if he was elected as premier.

“The DA has set aside R150 000 to fix 80 major potholes in the CBD, in DA run wards as well as Galeshewe, where car tyres are being destroyed on a daily basis.

“The DA will get rid of corruption by creating a new, independent and fully-resourced anti-corruption unit, staffed by specialist prosecutors and investigators.”

Louw said that the DA would launch a green energy revolution in the Northern Cape. “There are 59 out of 112 renewable energy projects in this province, yet it has not been transformed into the economic hub that it should be.

“I will lead a delegation to Germany, to make a model town in the Northern Cape that is 100 percent dependent on renewable energy. Solar technology manufacturing hubs in Upington and De Aar will help to create sustainable employment opportunities, especially for the youth.”

He promised to create job centres in every town for unemployed young people and to also create a drought portal to assist farmers in drought-ravaged areas.

“This Province will immediately reject expropriation without compensation and protect property rights,” Louw added. “At the same time, we will give title deeds to those who live on communal land.

“Unused state-owned land will be used for land reform and housing needs. Voluntary, incentivised partnerships will be entered into with farmers so that farm workers can own shares in the farms they work on. We will also prioritise the speedy settlement of all land claims.”

Louw added that with seven percent of the world’s diamonds and 13 percent of zinc and lead being sourced from the Northern Cape, along with other minerals, many jobs and economic spin-offs could be created through mineral beneficiation.

“Instead of kickbacks for government employees, we will offer tax breaks and tax incentives to entrepreneurs and investors to kickstart and expand their businesses. We will increase funding assistance to small businesses and do away with red tape that stifles growth.”