Newly elected Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in the North West, Leon Basson, listed his top priorities as restoring accountability at municipalities across the province, improving service delivery as well as growing the party’s support and helping regain lost members. Basson was elected unopposed on Saturday during the party’s congress held in Potchefstroom.
“We must bring accountability back to all the municipalities in the North West. Our people are suffering without electricity. Corruption is killing jobs and the livelihood of the people in the province. And that is what the DA will be tasked with in the next three years, to bring back dignity to the people, whether you stay in the rural area, township or on a farm. We will make sure that the residents of North West get excellent service,” said Basson.
Basson, who is originally from Brits in the Madibeng Local Municipality, is currently DA’s Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation. He served his constituency as a councillor for 19 years before moving to Cape Town.
The North West leader dismissed comments that being elected unopposed means there is no healthy democracy in the DA. He said he possesses vast experience, having served as a councillor and deputy leader of the party in the province for the past three years. Basson said he is aware that the party has lost members and also some wards in the recent by-elections.
“We made mistakes since 2019. We are busy rectifying those mistakes and it will take us some time to do that. We know where we are going, we’ve got to serve the people of the North West. That will be the task of the new management elected today in Potchefstroom, to make sure that we get back to the ground root levels of the party, and the ABC of politics, activism, branches and campaigning, in all corners of the North West province,” said Basson.
He said he plans to use his experience as Shadow Minister of Water and Sanitation to help improve water and infrastructure maintenance woes.
“It is not about the lack of water in most areas, it is about the maintenance of infrastructure. We need to make sure that municipalities pay for their services. We are sitting with Water Boards like Sedibeng that is owed R3-billion by municipalities, and they are financially struggling to deliver to these municipalities. We need to get the provincial government on board to ensure that municipalities don’t steal money, but utilize the money to the advantage of the community that they serve. And see how the Department of Water and Sanitation could assist these Water Boards in the financial crisis that they are in,” said Basson.