DA Provincial leader, Francois Rodgers, speaks politics in Newcastle, KZN

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The Democratic Alliance (DA) reached out to various communities, with KwaZulu-Natal provincial leader Francois Rodgers embarking on a leadership tour.

On the road for two weeks, the DA leader explains that he and his team are on a mission. Rodgers points out, starting in Sisonke District Municipality (Kokstad) and moving through KZN to the Amajuba District Municipality, “We are engaging with voters who are unsure of who to vote for.”

Furthermore, he stated that he and the team are engaging with various traditional leaders, religious figures, and community members. Further highlighting that the response of the tour has been great, with the DA seeing the ruling party lose its grip on those who once supported them.

Rodgers points out, “Traditional leaders have said they have seen nothing change over the past 28 years.”
The most significant issues these traditional leaders are facing in rural areas involve:

  • Access to water
  • Security and safety, especially as several traditional leaders have been killed.
  • Land distribution – Rodgers points out that traditional leaders have noted that land is given to those not interested in farming, and the land is allowed to stand before being sold.

In urban areas, the DA leader says residents are just as frustrated about the lack of services and issues they face—including:

  • Safety and security – the crime stats reflecting the state of affairs.
  • Potholes and the general conditions of the roads
  • Embankments not being cut.

Rodgers says, “There is an analogy that I like to use when looking at the overall situation. Voting is a lot like horse racing. You can’t expect to keep on putting money on a donkey and expecting it to win. Eventually, you are going to put your money on a horse that can bring you some returns.”

Reflecting on this, he admitted that while the DA might not get everything 100%, it was unquestionably doing a far cry better than the ANC.

Rodgers noted that the DA is prepared to take the fight to the other political parties. “We have the financial backing, unlike a certain political party who could not pay its staff for over two months.”

With high hopes, Rodgers was adamant that the DA would be taking the uMngeni Municipality in KZN with its Mayoral Elect, Chris Pappas. Once the municipality is secured, Rodgers stressed that the party would be running the same formula as it does in the Western Cape.

Unfortunately, he notes the political party does not have a Mayoral Elect for Newcastle. He explained that the reasoning for this was that the DA took a logical look at the landscape, taking note of the respective parties’ strengths and weaknesses.

Due to the Newcastle landscape’s current political leanings, securing strength in the various wards was considered a better idea.

When looking at new political parties entering this year’s elections, Rodgers noted for Newcastle; it was the first time ActionSA had joined the local arena. Looking at the party’s rapid growth in the area, he said that it was necessary to remember that no political party can change the political landscape overnight.

Irrespective of the traction of the new political parties, Rodgers is confident the DA will still make a positive impact and show growth in Newcastle and the surrounding areas.

Looking at the general state of affairs in both the country and province, the DA Leader highlights that we have allowed our municipalities to fall into a state of decline. This is because our leadership is not being held accountable for their actions, and efficient delivery has fallen by the wayside.

He believes a lot of the damage can be resolved by bringing ethical and efficient leadership back into play and clamping down on corrupt leaders.

As the DA leadership now prepares to move onto the uThukela District, what are your thoughts?

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