Eastern Cape Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Nqaba Bhanga has introduced his party to the traditional leaders in Mthatha. The move seeks to recognise the role of traditional leaders in the rural communities and allow DA to have space to reach communities in the far-flung rural communities.

Bhanga says taking the party to the rural communities will make people own the party and interact with DA leadership on various issues.

“When I took over my responsibility as the leader I made it very clear that I am going to take the DA to the rural communities. Therefore, in rural communities there is traditional leadership, our royalties which is fitful for us to respect them before we go to these communities. From this meeting we are going to go to all the kings in the Eastern Cape to introduce the party. We are introducing ourselves because we are a party of government. We run two  municipalities in the Eastern Cape and we are going to run the Eastern Cape.”

The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leadership Council Chairperson Chief Mwelo Nonkonyane says the meeting with the DA was fruitful in terms of understanding the way they operate. Chief Nonkonyane says traditional leaders welcome every political party to operate freely without any fear of prejudice .

“We had a very fruitful meeting, a very frank one, because essentially, they wanted to introduce themselves as the party and from our side, we did indicate that there is democracy in this country; there is freedom of association … yes people have got freedom of choice; yes, they are the majority party in the opposition. We are going to obey the constitution and to grant our people their constitutional right to be members of their parties of their choice which in this province some have made their choice which is DA.”

Traditional leaders expressed their concern about the manner in which the convicted abaTembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo was treated by the DA.

Nonkonyane believes that the king was persecuted not prosecuted by DA.

Traditional leaders and Democratic Alliance leadership have agreed to incorporate DA in the rural areas like any other political parties. They have urged the DA to provide the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders with policies to familiarize themselves with issues like land policy and so forth.