THE DA’s Limpopo premier candidate and MPL Jacques Smalle has vowed to double his party’s support in the province ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He promised to target Bela Bela and Polokwane municipalities as the low-lying fruit to grab from the ruling ANC in the 2021 municipal elections.
Speaking to African Times on Monday evening after his announcement as the DA Premier candidate over the weekend, Smalle said that the party was hoping to arrest the current migration of Limpopo people to Gauteng with a view to reducing the ANC’s electoral support to less than 50% and rule it through a coalition.
“It’s not to say that the DA will win but I think there is a good opportunity for the province to get the ANC below 50% next year which means that there will be some sort of a coalition government that needs to be formed and from that point of view we will try get the ANC below 50% at least in two other municipalities. We are looking at taking over Bela Bela and Polokwane,” Smalle said.
“The party has always grown as an organisation since inception and has always been the fastest growing organisation and I believe we will grow more. We want to reclaim good governance and restore the province in a way that we will bring pride to the people in order for us to be able to celebrate opportunities.”
He added that they needed to focus on how to implement their fight against corruption, how to guarantee good governance and how to ensure transparency.
“We need to revisit our financial procedures like the supply chains within municipalities so that they start talking to the needs of the people, for example the VBS issue: the first deposits were made as early as 2014 and were not picked up by the provincial government or if they were picked up they were not acted on and therefore the loss of the R1.6 billion could have been avoided,” he said.
Smalle says the DA will be seeking punitive measures against those politicians and officials who in any manner would like to loot from state or government.
“If you look at Makhado/ Musina Special Economic Zone, you will see the massive role that China is starting to play. We must see that we do not sell our souls to the BRICS countries. We must be transparent on how we ask for support and recognition in a special economic zone. It’s very concerning that a power station half the size of Medupi is being put together and we know the bad history of Medupi,” he added
DA leader Mmusi Maimane hailed Smalle as the best candidate for the province. He said Smalle’s career in politics spanned more than two decades‚ including two terms as a councillor‚ as well as serving as a member of the Provincial Legislature and a Member of Parliament in various capacities.
“Jacques has been an entrepreneur from a young age‚ successfully running multiple businesses from a bakery‚ butchery and supermarket to an avocado and nut farm. His commitment to a civilian service programme that would provide young school leavers an opportunity to receive industry of their choosing and a programme partnering school leavers is reflection of the fundamental importance he places in investing in the future of young South Africans‚” Maimane said.
Announcing Smalle’s candidacy on Saturday, Maimane also lamented the ANC’s governance of the province and added that Smalle would lead a team dedicated to eradicating corruption and call for a commission of inquiry into the VBS Mutual Bank investment scandal.
“Eight years ago, the Ratunku Primary School was meant to be built for the children of Masodi, some of whom are with us today. You can see why it is now referred to as the ‘invisible school’ because all that has come of this promise is the abandoned space we find ourselves in. There is still no school today, as the young children of this village are left behind by the ANC government.
Maimane said the Limpopo Department of Basic Education (DBE) continues to fail in delivering quality school infrastructure and that it had conceded in June that it did not achieve any of its Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) goals.
“As few as 22 of 115 selected schools through South Africa were built. And although there is a more than R5 billion school infrastructure backlog in Limpopo, this year’s infrastructure development programme was allocated R300 million less than four years ago,” he added.
“The effect of this ANC government’s empty promise is that the only existing primary school in the village is crammed with over 1 500 learners where 64 pupils squeeze into a classroom, and 4 children use the same desk. Young children have no choice but to walk 7km to schools in other villages, crossing a river and road en route,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DA announced the outcome of the Federal Executive Committee’s (FedEx) meeting on Tuesday.
In a statement, national spokesperson Solly Malatsi said Maimane “decided to decline the request for him to stand as the DA’s candidate for Premier of the Western Cape… this was a request that required careful consideration and consultation with the relevant party structures which made the initial request to him.”