Wednesday will be marked in history as the day the DA and the ANC battled it out at the polls for control over the highly contested Nelson Mandela Bay, the two parties said. The eve of the election day resulted in a battle of words and T-shirts between the two parties, who are running closer than ever in the metro, according to the polls.
The DA brought out the big guns, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and party leader Mmusi Maimane, who gave a final emotive monologue on the historical significance of Wednesday at the Nelson Mandela memorial in Donkin Park, Port Elizabeth.
Elsewhere, Danny Jordaan – who many see as the man who could bring back the votes lost to the DA in 2011 and 2014 in the metro – led a colourful motorcade through the mostly coloured Northern suburbs. It included a minibus of supporters, several luxury cars and three motorcycles.
Tearing through Gelvandale, Helenvale and New Brighton, the convoy passed through garbage-strewn fields, and sewage- and rubbish-covered roads, as residents ambled out of their dilapidated homes to wave at their mayor and his company, who threw T-shirts at eager bystanders.
After stopping in Bloemendal to hand over groceries to the family of a blind man who earns a living as a barber, Jordaan told The Citizen he was neither nervous about today nor considering any possibility that the DA could win the metro.
“In the final rally of the ANC here, it was bitterly cold and rained, but there were 30 000 people there. In the final rally of the DA, there was hardly 3 000,” Jordaan said. “They can win in the surveys, but not on the ground.
“We have been in Helenvale where the DA got 80% in the last election. I think now if they even get 8% this time round they will be very lucky.”
A local policeman, who did not want to be named, told The Citizen that at least four people were killed in Helenvale every week from gang-related violence.