ANC scared of DA in KZN, says Pappas after being cleared of nepotism charge

01 March 2024 - 16:40
A DA demonstration outside Chatsworth's RK Khan hospital on Friday led by provincial chair Dean McPherson.
Image: Lwazi Hlangu A DA demonstration outside Chatsworth's RK Khan hospital on Friday led by provincial chair Dean McPherson.

The DA says unfounded allegations of nepotism levelled against its KwaZulu-Natal premier candidate Chris Pappas show the ANC is scared of him.

A preliminary assessment by the provincial department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs cleared the uMngeni municipality mayor of any wrongdoing relating to contracts awarded to his ex-fiancé Jean-Pierre Prinsloo.

Former DA MPL Sizwe Mchunu filed a complaint questioning the agreement between the municipality and uMngeni Tourism which was chaired by Prinsloo.

However, in a letter dated February 13, Cogta MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi said they did not find anything untoward by Pappas.

On Friday, DA provincial chairperson Dean McPherson said the report confirmed the ANC was “terrified” of Pappas.

“It is ironic an ANC-run government had to tell the ANC that they were telling lies. The ANC should be forced to apologise to Chris Pappas and foot the bill for the expenses that Cogta had to spend to run this investigation,” he said.

“This is a sign of a desperate ANC that is terrified of Chris Pappas. They know he can beat them in their traditional and stronghold areas and that’s exactly what he’s going to do and this won’t be the last time they come up with some bogus allegation, I assure you.”

Pappas supported McPherson’s sentiments, also poking fun at the ANC Youth League’s march calling for his resignation that followed the allegations.

“As I was announced to be premier (candidate) for the DA, people tried to seek relevance because they are scared of me and the reputation we’ve built of trying to fix government and trying to rescue what was a broken municipality,” he said.

“We even had a march to the municipality with people looking for the wrong person — Passas and not Pappas.”

He labelled the allegations “political stunts”.

Pappas was speaking outside the RK Khan hospital in Chatsworth, south of Durban, which he had visited to observe the state of the public health facility.

He said public health care facilities in the province were collapsing due to understaffing and broken equipment.

“Just at this hospital, over R45m was allocated to repair the roof [in 2019] that is still not repaired,” said Pappas.

He said the DA would address the collapse of hospitals and clinics which was happening all over KwaZulu-Natal.

“What we want to do is cut waiting times, make medication easily available and improve the overall healthcare system in KwaZulu-Natal. By doing that we want places like this to be where people get better and not worse.”

This could be achieved by ending corruption, getting rid of cadre deployment and putting capable leaders and administrators in positions of influence.

On the emergence of the MK Party in KwaZulu-Natal, Pappas said it was not unusual to be excited by a new political face on the arena. 

“Much like COPE when they started, people get excited about these things and then you start to ask serious questions about who are the leaders, who are the structures, what are the policies? And when they start to fight inside — like we see now they are starting to fight for positions — those parties collapse.”

He said the emergence of parties like MK showed people in the province were willing to change their vote.

“We have to be wary and understand the political dynamics of the province but we’re largely excited because it means that people of KZN are willing to change their vote and if they are willing to change to the IFP and MK then they are also willing to change to the DA,” he said.

“Many people want change and we understand that changing our votes rings that change. We must think critically about what that vote does. We’ve gone through years of decline, if people want to return and get worse then they must vote the same, but if they want real change then they must understand what that vote does and it’s a five-year term.”