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Cape Town mayor-elect Hill-Lewis thanks voters, vows to earn their faith

03 November 2021 - 21:05
DA Cape Town mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis celebrates with supporters in Athlone at the Cape Flats.
DA Cape Town mayoral candidate Geordin Hill-Lewis celebrates with supporters in Athlone at the Cape Flats.
Image: Esa Alexander

Cape Town mayor-elect Geordin Hill-Lewis has thanked Capetonians for giving the DA another mandate to govern the city, promising to earn the faith that voters have shown the party in the polls.

While Cape Town's results were yet to be announced at the end of business on Wednesday, the DA had an insurmountable lead in the province's only metropolitan municipality.

Projections show that the party will govern with a reduced majority from the 67% it won in the August 2016 elections, but it still had a comfortable majority.

“It's my absolute pleasure to announce that our election projections now show we can say with a great deal of confidence that voters have returned the DA to government with a convincing majority in the City of Cape Town.

“Our projections show that our majority will be about 58.5%, a full 40 percentage points ahead of our closest competitor party,” he told journalists at the provincial results centre in Cape Town.

“We appreciate this endorsement, we appreciate this faith and we will work every single day over the next five years to make sure the residents feel good about their decision on Monday to vote for the DA. That is our absolute goal,” he said.

When the IEC closed its centre at Century City, the metro's results were still outstanding.

Provincial IEC head Michael Hendrickse said 90.8% of the city's result slips had been captured by 3pm and they were hoping to finish the job sometime Wednesday evening.

All the local municipalities were complete, he said.

But the city's incoming mayor was already talking about his plans for the next five years.

“I am really privileged and humbled as the incoming mayor of CT, I can't wait to get started,” said Hill-Lewis.

The 34 year-old said the purpose of his government in an election where voters showed in an unprecedented way that they were unhappy with what is happening in local towns and cities across the country, was to make Cape Town a place of pride and hope for SA.

“We want people to see what is possible in SA with a good government under a DA government. We will absolutely, unashamedly and explicitly look to improve the lives of the poorest in our city and expand opportunity, grow our economy, improve safety and security in every community, improve public transport and make this the best place to live in SA no matter who you are, where you come from and what community you are in.

“That's what we call inside our party: the DA difference. We want every South African to be proud of that, and we want every South African to feel it in their own lives and we want to show that in Cape Town,” he said.

This also means doing more in Cape Town to protect residents from the consequences of failing basic services at national government level. He cited electricity, safety, policing and public transport as examples of national government failures that the city will be intervening in.

“It's a wonderful illustration or underscores how urgent this task that a day after the elections our country is plunged back into rolling electricity blackouts.

“We know that this is urgent and we have a strong mandate for the new DA government that is going to do more to protect residents and Cape Town from those consequences and to do more to improve the lives of the poorest.”

Hill-Lewis received congratulatory messages from his rivals when he arrived at the results centre earlier. ANC, EFF, GOOD and FF-Plus leaders were seen shaking his hand and congratulating him and the DA on their electoral performance.

Meanwhile, reflecting on voter turnout, Hendrickse said an analysis will be done. He said there were explanations which include a multiplicity of factors.

“We have apathy, we have alienation and this refers to a process on whether our own processes as IEC are such that they create too many hurdles for people to participate in our elections.

“You also have the fact that there are people who are choosing to go with the alternatives; whether it's a protest, social media groups, alternatives like court cases and not participating in our democratic electoral process and that is something we all have to look at as all of us. I think it's a challenge for all of us,” he said.

Hendrickse said one of the ways to improve on elections was on the experience of voters, especially looking at the experience of voters who had to go to temporary structures.

He would be engaging with local municipalities to see to what extent they could assist the IEC with putting up better temporary structures in suited places, so that voters across the board could have an improved voting experience.

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