DA leader Helen Zille on Monday cited the party's success in running Cape Town in her bid to garner votes in East London, a site of turbulence for the ANC in recent months.
“Before the DA-led coalition took office in 2006, Cape Town was in a mess,” she said according to an extract of a speech delivered in Quigney, Buffalo City - an ANC-led municipality - in the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape is traditionally an ANC stronghold.
“So what did the DA do when we took power? We started by getting the basics right.
“We appointed qualified technical personnel and increased funding for the fire, health and metro police services.
“We wrote off the debt owed by the very poor and began a revenue collection drive. Within one year, we had collected R1-billion of outstanding debt,” she said.
She said voters in the upcoming municipal elections could compare the DA's track record with the ANC's.
“You know better than me what has been happening here in East London over the last five years.
“You know about the R2-billion of ratepayer's money that, according to the Auditor-General, has simply disappeared.
“You know about the independent report released in January which found that 14 tenders had been awarded irregularly.”
She told residents that political infighting was destroying the municipality's ability to deliver.
More debt collection in Cape Town meant more money for service delivery and more free basic services for the people.
“It meant we could triple what we spent on infrastructure over the next three years.
“We cut crime in the CBD by 90 percent. And we started pilot projects to tackle crime and the causes of crime in priority areas like Khayelitsha. “We did not perform any miracles in Cape Town. We just focused on the basics.”
Zille said the DA was not perfect and made mistakes.
“But when we do, we try to fix them. The choice is yours. You can choose another five years of corruption, poor service delivery and political in-fighting. Or you can choose the DA.”
Buffalo City is set to be turned into a metro after the May 18
polls joining the ranks of the Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
The ANC in the Eastern Cape witnessed a revolt over its local election candidate lists recently with members in various regions, including Buffalo City, taking the party to court over the candidate selection process.
In January Eastern Cape MEC for local government Mlibo Qoboshiyane, said the ANC had to take “drastic steps” to restore the credibility of the municipality. Qoboshiyane reportedly said the Buffalo City municipality was on the verge of “total collapse”. -