Africa-Press – South-Africa. In the worst-kept secret in KwaZulu-Natal, the DA has nominated rising star, uMngeni Mayor Chris Pappas, as the party’s premier candidate in the 2024 elections.
DA leader John Steenhuisen gave a raving review of Pappas’ leadership as he announced his candidacy for the provincial ballot in next year’s elections.
In late August, News24 broke the story that Pappas was touted to be the face of the party in KwaZulu-Natal in next year’s elections on account that he could break the language barrier between the party and its supporters.
Steenhuisen described Pappas as a “shining beacon on the hill while the rest of KwaZulu-Natal lies in ruin”.
He added that change would “not happen by osmosis” and would be realised when those concerned about ANC failures register to vote.
He listed the ANC’s failures in the province, including sewage on the beaches, unemployment, corruption, cadre deployment, and poverty.
“It is only when citizens take that power into their own hands and vote on election day for change, for hope and for the DA, the only party that can kick out the ANC and keep the EFF out,” Steenhuisen said.
As Steenhuisen announced Pappas’ candidacy, the uMngeni mayor emerged from the crowd of leaders gathered behind Steenhuisen in front of the city hall.
Pappas alternated seamlessly between isiZulu, Afrikaans and English.
He said he was “hurt” by the ANC government’s failure to pay social grants on time, and by the crisis in the province in which thousands of pupils go to school without food.
Pappas said in KwaZulu-Natal there was an atmosphere where criminals are overpowering police.
He reiterated that ANC government leaders were “amaselele (frogs)”, which previously led to a back and forth between him and provincial ANC chairperson, Siboniso Duma.
Duma previously called Pappas a “little racist boy” for his labelling of ANC leaders.
In a statement issued later to uMngeni residents, Pappas told them about his candidacy.
“I do not have to leave my position as mayor unless I am elected to the provincial government,” he said.
He added that he would be crisscrossing KwaZulu-Natal to build trust and sell “a vision of hope”.
“During this time I will still be your mayor and will still be dedicated as much effort and time to ensure that we continue to make progress in uMngeni,” Pappas said.
He added that the DA had been in government there for 22 months.
“We inherited 28 years of mismanagement and corruption. Turning governmment around is a difficult process that takes time. However, I am sure that we can all see the improvements in a short space of time. If you have seen or read the previous Eskom CEO’s testimonials, you will understand the challenges,” Pappas said.
“The prospects of winning KwaZulu-Natal are very high.”