In a historic first, the DA has won, outright, the municipality of uMngeni in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, taking 13 of the council’s 25 seats. This breakthrough victory in what has until now been an ANC stronghold is the first municipality the DA has ever won in KZN, and underlines our credentials as a party of government in multiple provinces.
The DA can now add uMngeni to the likes of Kouga in the Eastern Cape and Midvaal in Gauteng as examples of municipalities where residents have recognised that only the DA’s brand of clean governance, commitment to service delivery and zero tolerance for corruption can save their towns from ANC failure. Kouga and Midvaal – both outright DA-governed – are already recognised as the best-run municipalities in their respective provinces, and it is our prediction that uMngeni will soon stake the same claim in KZN.
Clearly, the people of uMngeni have had enough of the neglect and decay that have decimated their towns over the past two decades, queueing for hours yesterday at voting stations across the municipality to make their mark for the DA difference. These residents are the heroes of this election effort, and we thank them for their patience and perseverance. Future generations in uMngeni will owe them a debt of gratitude for halting the slide and setting the municipality on a different course.
Even the former ANC deputy mayor, Nompumelelo Buthelezi, recognised that there was no future for uMngeni under the ANC, when she joined the DA on the eve of the election. This is an important part of the DA’s mission as we seek to build a new centre in South African politics, focused on accountability and service delivery excellence, by drawing in people from elsewhere who share our vision for a South Africa that works.
uMngeni’s new DA Mayor-elect, Chris Pappas, knows that he and his administration have their work cut out over the next five years if they are to rebuild this broken municipality into the jewel of the KZN midlands, but this is what the DA does. It cleans out the rot, it stabilises the finances, it rebuilds the local government’s capacity and it puts the residents and their needs at the heart of everything it does.
Importantly, they will get to do this with an outright DA government, which means no fickle coalition partners constantly compromising the delivery project with unrealistic demands. History has shown that wherever the DA governs outright – and particularly where the DA is given multiple terms on its own – these municipalities pull far ahead of ANC-run municipalities on every single governance metric.
To the people of uMngeni we say: Thank you for putting your trust in the DA. We will not disappoint you. But know that your vote is just a five year contract, and that the DA will need to earn the right for that contract to be renewed in 2026. That is what we intend to do.