DA leader John Steenhuisen. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

DA leader John Steenhuisen, flanked by Nelson Mandela Bay Metro mayoral candidate Nqaba Bhanga, signed the party’s pledge on Wednesday in which they confirmed the party’s commitment to good, clean governance and the fight against corruption in the Eastern Cape.

Steenhuisen said while the entire country continues to suffer the knock-on effects of endless government corruption, the Eastern Cape in particular has had to bear the brunt of the government’s greed under an ANC administration.

Addressing party supporters in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro, Steenhuisen said the Eastern Cape province has been brought to its knees by ‘decades of obscene looting’ by its various ANC administrations, citing the recent scandal involving Premier Oscar Mabuyane as the latest example.

Mabuyane is accused of improperly benefitting from funds meant for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s memorial service.

According to the public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report, the premier allegedly pocketed at least R450 000 to renovate his home.

“The latest instance – whereby the Premier of the province, Oscar Mabuyane, along with his former Human Settlements MEC and now head of Public Works, Babalo Madikizela, benefitted from large chunks of the R3.3 million Rand looted from a memorial service fund for the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela – shows that absolutely nothing is off-limits when it comes to ANC corruption. Some of this money even made its way into the coffers of the provincial ANC itself,” said Steenhuisen.

“Contrary to what some ANC leaders have tried to claim in the past, corruption is not a victimless crime. In fact, it is the poorest citizens – those who cannot afford to insulate themselves from failed government delivery and who rely entirely on the state for services – who are disproportionately affected by government corruption. It is the poorest of the poor who desperately need their governments – national, provincial and local – to be honest, accountable and committed to perform their sworn duty to the people.”

He said by signing the party’s pledge in the metro, they were saying to the people of Nelson Mandela Bay: ‘Help us keep the corrupt out for good this time by giving us an outright majority to govern the way only the DA can govern.’

“As was set out in great detail in Crispian Olver’s 2017 book, How to Steal a City, Nelson Mandela Bay suffered for decades at the hands of a crime syndicate masquerading as its local ANC government,” he said.

“Through crooked tenders, kickbacks and the non-stop theft of public money through local government, this metro was bankrupted and bled dry by the time the ANC was finally kicked out by voters in 2016. The DA immediately set about cancelling corrupt tenders and shoring up the city’s finances, and in under two years turned a R2 billion debt into a R650 million surplus.”

“Where the DA governs, we have already demonstrated the clear blue water between our party and the ANC when it comes to clean, accountable governance. And nowhere has this been more evident than right here in Nelson Mandela Bay, where the decrease, increase and then decrease again of corrupt activities in the metro perfectly match the DA taking office in 2016, then being ousted in 2018’s council coup, and then resuming office again in 2020.”

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