Eighty members of the United Christian Democratic Party have defected to the Democratic Alliance in the North West.

This brings to 200 the number of defections by UCDP members over the past few weeks.

These former UCDP members have given the long-standing leadership battles within the party as one of their reasons for seeking an alternative political home.

Some of the residents of Ward 31 in Setlopo village in Mahikeng express their decision of joining forces with the Democratic Alliance.
They say Kgosi Mangope advised them to join any political party of their choice, but not the ANC.

“Our President Sir Lucas Manyane Mangope told us that he is now tired of going to court now and then, he said to us you decide where you going I am going to DA but I don’t say you must follow me. But please don’t go to the ANC so we just have to follow him.”

Another member adds that the DA is the only good party in South Africa as it fights against corruption and fights for service delivery.

Democratic Alliance leader in the province, Chris Hattingh, says he’s hopeful that by receiving new members, they will aggressively grow their support and become an official opposition in the province.

“What we see through the term is that people come to join us they have realised that they have a choice to make about the enrichment of a very few people. We are positive that we are gaining ground and the results will confirm that we are the only alternative for what is going on in the ANC. We are in a very strong position and what we see is that we are confident that we will at least be the official opposition in the North West province.”

We are positive that we are gaining ground and the results will confirm that we are the only alternative for what is going on in the ANC

UCDP National Chairperson, Celia Ditshetelo, says they are not fazed by the defection of some their members.

“We would be worried if one of our important members was defecting but now it seems we are talking about ordinary members, we don’t mind. UCDP is on the ball, we have everything that can make us go to the elections on the 07th of May we are ready. As the UCDP the way we are growing… even if you can tell me 100 of them have left, that won’t worry UCDP at all because we are growing. We have registered for nine provinces so that doesn’t worry us.”

However an analyst from the North West University, Professor Andre Duvenhage, has a different opinion.

He says the latest defection will have a negative impact on the UCDP during the coming election.

“The ordinary individuals are playing a very important role and you cannot just throw away the view point of ordinary people. My assessment is that it is negative for the UCDP. It is clear to me that the party is on the decline and that it is not going to be a significant factor at least not in North West, of the 2014 elections.”

Although the National chairperson of the UCDP has refuted that former Bophutatswana leader Kgosi Lucas Mangope might coin the DA, some of his supporters have confirmed that he told them that he might vote for DA.

When contacted to confirm Mangope’s membership, the DA leader in the province says there are talks with Mangope to join the party.

– By Patrick Dintwa