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Race for control of KZN hots up

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With 5.7 million votes up for grabs in KwaZulu-Natal, the race for control of the province ahead of the general elections has been an intense one. Four parties contesting believe they’ve selected candidates, who have what it takes to lead the province. They are the African National Congress (ANC), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and ActionSA.

South Africa is marking 30 years since its first democratic elections. The country is gearing up for the seventh general elections. As the social and political dynamics appear to be shifting, the political parties contesting this election, know the stakes could not be higher.

More so in the three provinces that have been declared the election battlegrounds.

KwaZulu-Natal, the second most populous province in the country following Gauteng, is among them. The province’s top political parties are confident they have fielded their best candidates to lead the province, if they emerge victorious.

The ruling ANC which faces its toughest election to date is banking on its track record in government.

“We are transitioning towards the 5th industrial revolution that means we must create more job opportunities, consolidate a strategy on service delivery because the cost of living is getting higher and higher and SA has some nice mineral resources. Let us tap on those. Let us develop a policy to ensure the transformational agenda will be detected and the majority of people will have employment in the future,” says the ANC’s provincial leader, Siboniso Duma.

2024 Elections | ANC campaigns in KZN, hopes for victory:

The second largest party in the country, the DA, has put its faith in Chris Pappas, the current Mayor of the uMngeni local municipality. The party made history in the 2021 local government elections, winning its first ever municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. Since, then Pappas has successfully turned the municipality around, emerging debt free in just under a year.

Pappas has been described as a principled and dynamic leader who understands the needs of the province.

“The most critical thing that we have in this province and that we must focus on and get right is unemployment. We have to get people working and get our economy going. And we can only get dignity to people to put bread on their table if we fix the basic infrastructure, we fix our towns and cities to make sure there’s electricity when we turn the lights on, that our healthcare works that it makes people better and not worse. And that our education system supports young people and equips them for a modern economy,” says Pappas.

DA kick starts its election campaign in KZN:

Also gunning for the province is the official opposition party, the IFP. Thami Ntuli, its provincial chairperson, was selected as the party’s Premier candidate. He believes his experience and commitment are in line with the party’s values.

“The issue of the economy is a priority because it produces job opportunities and in fact lowers the crime stats and brings stability which will enable the province to attract the investors. But the issue of education is the future of any country, that is why you find even while one is a mayor it is taking the responsibility to develop education,” Ntuli explains.

IFP nominates Thami Ntuli for KZN Premier candidate:

Contesting the general elections for the first time and hoping to make gains in KwaZulu-Natal, is ActionSA. The party has put its faith in Zwakele Mncwango, formerly of the DA. It says Mncwango’s wealth of experience in government will stand the party in good stead to increase its support base.

“We are the only party saying when we take power in the province, we will put together a unit that unit will involve border management, home affairs, SAPS and the local municipality. To make it clear we’ll put a barrier on illegal immigrants running businesses in our townships. So basically we want to put the economy back to the locals of KZN,” says Mncwango.

Elections 2024 | ActionSA confident of a win in KZN:

These four leaders have spent months engaging with people from all walks of life to persuade them to not only turn up on voting day but to cast their ballots in support of their party. It’s now in the hands of the voters to decide who they see fit to lead KwaZulu-Natal.

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