From housing and electricity to healthcare, these are the DA's promises

These are the party's promises for jobs, power, crime fighting, housing and water access for the 2021 local government elections.

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen at the party’s manifesto launch on 25 September 2021. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance launched its manifesto on Saturday through a virtual event.

The Constitutional Court ruled earlier in the month that the elections should take place despite COVID-19 concerns.

For the first time since its creation, the DA has a candidate in every municipality in the country.

These are the party's offers.


  • A DA government will ensure every community has access to reliable, clean, running water, that is safe to drink and to prepare food. And that there is no untreated wastewater contaminating the natural or built environment (homes, streets, sidewalks etc.)

  • Where we are in government, we conduct regular testing of water quality.

  • We will ensure our communities are not exposed to raw sewage. We will ensure fully compliant wastewater treatment works, that plant assets are well-managed, and that there is a strategy in place to minimise risks and ensure long-term sustainability.

  • We have experience in effectively fighting water shortages and droughts. Working together with residents, businesses, and civil society of the Western Cape, we beat day zero. We will beat it again in other municipalities where we are elected to govern.

  • DA governments will ensure there is regular refurbishment and replacement of water infrastructure, as well as reducing reaction times to burst pipes which is essential to reducing water losses and restoring water supply.

  • Addressing infrastructure challenges is a long-term solution. Alongside the long-term interventions, the DA will work with other spheres to ensure the roll-out of water tankers with adequate water supply, water tank installation, and alternative water sources for households in municipalities where water provision has collapsed.

  • We will develop and implement operation, maintenance and management plans for each municipality to ensure sustainable use of its groundwater resources.

  • We will encourage solutions to reduce water consumption such as the use of lowflow, waterless toilet systems, or grey water flush systems. The use of pre-paid water meters would also help residents become more aware of their water consumption. Meters put residents in charge of their consumption and spending so they do not end up with unexpected and expensive bills they cannot afford.

  • Wherever we govern we undertake to eliminate pit latrines on municipal land.

  • Every DA municipality will develop and implement a water conservancy and water demand management strategy and we will make use of proven behavioural methods to encourage water conservation. Informing households of their water usage relative to other anonymous households and recognising those who consume responsibly can give households a benchmark to understand, measure, and compare their water use.

  • The DA will ensure that we do all we can in all spheres of government to protect our aquatic ecosystems on which our water supply depends. This includes removing invasive alien plant species from catchment areas, rivers, streams and dams.

  • DA municipalities will encourage alternative water use for households and businesses. We are committed to addressing (and mitigating) the risks associated with the management and use of rainwater, well points, treated effluent, domestic greywater, and boreholes.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on residents using water responsibly and paying their bills.


  • Where the DA governs, we help to free residents from Eskom load shedding, and we improve access to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity.

  • If you live in DA-run Cape Town, you already experience fewer blackouts. The Steenbras Hydro-electrical Power Scheme has reduced load shedding times compared to municipalities not run by the DA.

  • DA governments are already at the forefront of the fight to purchase power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs), rather than having to rely on Eskom.

  • We support people and businesses selling their excess wind- and solar-generated electricity to the grid for consumption by other users, benefitting both residents and the local economy.

  • To promote energy efficiency, we will fight for the national government to implement zero-rating VAT on LED lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances.

  • DA municipalities will strive to make all buildings, streetlights, facilities, and traffic lights energy efficient.

  • We will also put in place measures to address cable theft.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on
    residents using electricity responsibly and paying their bills.


  • DA-run governments will reclaim public spaces currently taken over by lawlessness, litter, and neglect so that they may be once again places for all to enjoy.

  • We will ensure resources are invested in keeping streets and public areas clean, including numerous and visible litter bins, appropriate waste sites and disposal mechanisms.

  • DA governments will ensure that municipalities cut grass and maintain pavements on a schedule regular enough to prevent overgrown public spaces.

  • In government we will put in place a roadmap towards ensuring all streetlights operate using LED lighting. The lifetime of LED lighting is greater, which helps reduce downtimes improving road safety and security. The use of LED lights will also ensure that we can keep local government carbon emissions low. It is estimated that streetlights account for 30-60% of total local government carbon emissions.

  • The DA is committed to investing in public amenities, especially in maintaining existing infrastructure, including sports and recreation amenities and libraries.

  • We will prioritise the cleanliness, safety, and maintenance of public beaches, parks, and other recreational spaces which in addition to their importance to communal well-being are essential to job-creating tourism. And continue our campaigns to encourage the public to take pride in these spaces.

  • Essential to clean, secure, well-maintained public spaces is addressing the root causes of decay, effective enforcement of bylaws, functioning municipal courts and public participation in bylaw formulation.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on residents discarding their litter responsibly, and helping municipalities attend to matters quickly by logging service issues.


  • The DA will invest in safe, reliable, and affordable public transport, and wellmaintained roads.

  • DA governments will ensure that we accurately measure the cost of the local road maintenance backlog to enable greater efficiency in allocation of budgets.

  • We will conduct skills audits in departments to ensure the filling of posts by skilled personnel. We will also include skills capacity and deficits in the annual reports of the relevant authority.

  • Where we govern, we will strive to eradicate unclassified roads by classifying roads in rural areas, and push for the overall consolidation of the road network in South Africa.

  • In addition to safer roads, we will improve road traffic safety, and road traffic discipline. Some of the ways in which this can be achieved include increased roadside testing of the roadworthiness of vehicles, sobriety checkpoints, and impounding vehicles for a wider range of serious transgressions.

  • Ensure effective repair and upgrading of traffic lights to reduce downtimes, especially after rainfall and/or due to load shedding.

  • We will integrate public transport systems in metros by using single smart ticket systems which allow commuters to use all forms of public transport, such as busses and taxis, with one ticket.

  • Partner with the private sector, such as taxi associations, to make sure public transport is efficient, sustainable, and integrated. This can be done by including mini-bus taxi drivers and owners in the Municipal Integrated Transport Plan.

  • Encourage competition and innovation to the benefit of the consumer in the metered taxi and e-hailing industries.

  • Investigate the feasibility of providing free transport within metros for work seekers, potentially within designated days and hours.

  • Make sure that all public transport is safe, well-maintained, and adequate for the needs of the communities it serves, while striving for better accessibility and affordability for everyone, including the disabled.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on users maintaining the road worthiness of their vehicles, and complying with the rules of the road.


  • DA governments will invest in localised law enforcement and tackle the local conditions which give rise to crime in the first place.

  • DA local governments are at the forefront of municipal law and traffic enforcement while supporting SAPS with their crime prevention mandate. While policing is a national function, we will fight to increasingly devolve it to the provincial and local level.

  • We will therefore fight the attempt by national government to impose a single police service and the hijacking of metro police departments and municipal law enforcement. DA governments will take this fight all the way to the Constitutional Court if necessary. We will similarly oppose the attempts to centralise all traffic enforcement in a national traffic service by opposing improper provisions in the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) acts.

  • Specialised police units e.g. rural safety units should be reintroduced nationally but are important locally too when tailored according to the nature of prevalent crime in the municipality or region. These could include marine poaching enforcement, unmarked “ghost squad” traffic enforcement vehicles to control reckless and negligent driving, metal theft enforcement, and gang and drug enforcement.

  • DA municipalities will work with the Department of Justice and National Prosecuting Authority to establish and support a network of municipal courts to ensure the effective processing and enforcement of municipal bylaws and traffic offences, which are core municipal competencies.

  • Effective public order policing is essential to trust. Where there are protests the role is to ensure all rights are upheld. A long-term goal is the introduction of the wearing of body cameras by all law enforcement to enhance available evidence in cases against law enforcement.

  • We prize partnerships with local stakeholders and will assist to establish and secure resources for neighbourhood watches, crime patrols, and other community policing strategies, such as the use of reservists and the Rent-a-Cop model.

  • DA municipalities will invest in the recruitment, training, resourcing, equipping and integration of local law enforcement with neighbourhood watches.

  • DA governments will invest in crime information services and smart policing that is information-driven, intelligence-driven, and data-driven. This includes CCTV cameras, gunfire detection, crime data analysis, integrated and computer-aided calltaking, dispatching and mobile in-vehicle enablement systems that make the police more responsible, accountable and produce crime and business information that allows for effective management.

  • We will implement watching briefs for poorly prosecuted crimes e.g. gang violence, rape, farm murders, drunk driving etc. Members of the Watching Briefs Unit attend courts to observe the procedures in court to detect inefficiencies of the police and courts.

  • DA governments will focus on ensuring that we are tough on crime but tougher on the causes of crime. Being tougher on the causes focuses on the elements which are in the control of local government. This includes community amenities, recreation and sports amenities, local economic development, urban regeneration, social development interventions, early childhood development support, uniformed school resource officers in high-risk schools and youth camps and cadet programmes, and eliminating exposure to violence.

  • The DA will ensure that where we govern, we make the most of the limited policing resources and limited powers we control, by investing in training and ensuring a high calibre of discipline with well-resourced training colleges, ongoing quality training, international training exposure, external review and ensuring that there is a functioning and independent civilian oversight committee and capable internal investigations capacity.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on residents keeping vigilant and engaged through means such as joining and/or participating in neighbourhood groups, and community policing forums.


  • Where we get into government for the first time, simply getting the basics right will be the biggest contribution we can make to the economic prosperity of residents. Beyond that we are committed to improving the business environment by making it easier to do business.

  • DA governments will seek to make it easier to do business by lowering the time, cost, and number of procedures it takes to get a construction permit, register property, enforce contracts, and to get electricity. These are the local government measures used to indicate the ease of doing business by the World Bank.

  • Governments do not create jobs throughout the economy, but if they run municipalities well, they can attract the investors and entrepreneurs who create jobs. The Expanded Public Works Programme provides temporary work opportunities and should be used transparently as a launchpad to full employment, not as an end.

  • Those municipalities which have achieved delivering on the basics can do more to drive the local economy. Municipalities should invest early in research exploring the competitive advantages of the local economy and lean towards the sectors of the economy which exhibit the most potential for growth.

  • We will formalise relationships with strategic business partners in locally significant sectors.

  • Municipal procurement will not enrich the politically connected but will reduce inequality by using competent, value-for-money service providers who enable us to deliver reliable basic services and public infrastructure for all.

  • Post-pandemic informal trade and economic activity, if proactively and effectively regulated with an enabling approach, will become even more important to local prosperity.

  • The impounding of the property of informal traders will be a last resort as sanction for serious offences.

  • We will ensure that identification from traders is only requested where there is reasonable suspicion of a violation or illegal activity, or when required for administrative purposes such as the issuing of a trading permit.

  • We will ensure that official trading areas are well located in areas with high foot traffic.

  • We will ensure that the cost of trading permits is not prohibitive and that there are measures in place to support traders who cannot afford permits, or that there are areas for trading at certain times which do not require permits. Other regulations regarding stand size, health etc. would still need to be met.

  • We will provide appropriate infrastructure for informal trading, depending on the type of activity.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on the public identifying business opportunities and taking advantage of any services their municipality has to offer, as well as vocalising the challenges to conducting business and what the municipality can do to unlock opportunities.


  • Where we govern, we will support safe, energy-efficient housing delivered through self-build, which helps to diversify housing options and ensure more people own their homes.

  • Where we get into local government we will have to work with the reality of reduced budgets for housing.

  • We will continue to prioritise the delivery of title deeds to previously built and any new, but limited, state-subsidised housing so that recipients have legal ownership of their homes. This also supports the secondary market for housing as it enables homes to be sold securely and encourages buyers to purchase at fair prices.

  • We will release unutilised state-owned land parcels for the purpose of housing developments, taking into consideration the potential for the land to be used for other economic or social purposes. But state land should not lie unused while people are not living in decent settlements.

  • Focus will be placed on enabling the densification of existing, well-located, and low density neighbourhoods through appropriate zoning and investment in infrastructure.

  • Where viable, we will ensure the in-situ upgrading of informal settlements and provide residents of previously informal settlements with tenure security.

  • We will manage lists for housing opportunities, including serviced sites, which are credible, free from manipulation and ensure the development of a standard, transparent, and fair process for selecting beneficiaries.

  • We will endeavour to ensure that spatial planning protects our natural environment and heritage for future generations.

  • The DA will adopt global best practice in ensuring municipalities have a database of homeless people. It is impossible to tackle homelessness without information on who is homeless and their circumstances.

  • In principle no person should be living on the street and the DA is committed to assisting homeless people to re establish themselves off the street through a combination of socioeconomic interventions. In the medium to long term by facilitating a growing economy, which gets more people working and earning an income. In the short-term by working with civil society organisations who assist the homeless and working with provincial departments to provide temporary places of safety and other social services. In the immediate short term, where there are no
    alternatives, the homeless cannot be criminalised.

  • The DA will take principled legal action to prevent and stop illegal land invasions.

  • Where we govern, we seek to ensure that housing development is safe, structured, and fair and can be delivered with formal services to people on waiting lists.

  • Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on residents not invading land illegally, double-dipping, or queue jumping which slows down housing and service delivery for all.


  • Where the DA governs, we will ensure that all departments are equipped and work together to minimise the risks which lead to poor health, to respond effectively to health emergencies, and to achieve overall positive health outcomes.

  • We recognise that the good health of a community is dependent on access to basicutilities such as water and electricity, sanitation, housing conditions, safe roads through effective traffic enforcement, and accurate health information, among many other factors which are best responded to at the local government level.

  • We will support the targeted phase-out of paraffin as a domestic fuel and replacement with safer alternatives, such as methanol for cooking which has several advantages over paraffin.

  • Civil society is a crucial player in promoting public health and achieving health outcomes. We will work with civil society to disseminate health information and to keep an ear to the ground on the health challenges facing communities.

  • In particular, we will work with NGOs and other spheres of government to develop a strategy to provide mental health support, and to combat alcohol and drug abuse where we govern.

  • DA governments will pass and enforce bylaws to prevent the pollution of our natural environment that can lead to illness or injury.
    -Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on communities taking heed of health information provided to them.


  • A DA government will be committed to governing in the interests of the people by eliminating corruption, adopting best practice in good governance, and ensuring the resilience of communities through effective disaster risk management.

  • DA governments will clearly communicate Service Level Agreements (SLA) and Turnaround times on refuse collection, burst pipes, electrical faults, potholes, and other queries lodged. We will also link each SLA and turnaround time to the responsible political principal/individual to ensure accountability.

  • Where we govern, we have a track record of reducing fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and keeping staff costs down.

  • We are committed to paying bulk suppliers timeously to avoid any service interruptions, and to pay all suppliers within 30 days.

  • If a DA government charges residents interest on rates unpaid, then it will commit to also pay residents interest on fees erroneously incurred or other involuntary credit in their accounts.

  • We will ensure that there are effective billing systems to instil trust and to ensure that consumers who can afford to pay do so, which enables our governments to provide better support for indigent residents.

  • We will fight corruption by ending cadre deployment and corrupt procurement processes.

  • We will develop a supply chain management policy that rigorously checks quality and value for money. This will ensure that problematic suppliers that do not deliver to the required standard will be blacklisted from doing further business with their local government.

  • We will ensure government officials are appointed fairly, based on the value that they add to the organisation and not their political connections.

  • Where there has been a persistent failure of basic services, and engagements with the municipality have failed to resolve the problem, the DA supports Municipal Residents’ Associations in pursuing all avenues to enforce their rights against local governments.

  • We will ensure that effective disaster management plans are in place for municipalities where we govern, with the adequate resources to implement them. This includes adequate fire and rescue vehicles to service every community we govern.

  • In the interests of transparency, the DA commits to opening up the tender process at the adjudication stage and opening up Council meetings.

  • The DA will modernise government interaction with residents by investing in e-government so that dealing with the government is pain-free and eliminates reasons to come to a government building in person.

  • DA governments will ensure that IDPs are developed in consultation with as many stakeholders as possible. This will allow all residents to have a stake in the development of the town or city they live in.


A DA government will ensure there is effective waste collection and rubbish disposal to protect the environment and the health of residents.
- We will deliver regular refuse collection to formal and informal communities as well as the business sector.
- We will ensure sufficient rural waste collection points that ideally link to local buy-back centres. We will promote and improve recycling where we govern through initiatives such as free drop-off facilities, and the use of online waste recycling maps which connect residents and businesses with all types of waste and buy-back centres.
- In some municipalities weekly waste collection is still done in bags. The DA commits to introducing proper containerised domestic refuse collection wherever possible in municipalities where we govern.
- DA governments will address littering and illegal dumping, in large part by ensuring effective bylaw enforcement of illegal dumping by residents and companies.
- We will include, as part of our strategies, EPWP employment and partnerships with community groups who do clean-ups, particularly in informal settlements.
- Landfills are a critical environmental issue and many municipalities, including DA municipalities, have run out of landfill airspace. This requires optimal management of our landfills, ensuring that disposal of waste is done at properly licensed and regulatory compliant sanitary landfills, waste minimisation, but also repurposing of
landfills that have reached their capacity through initiatives such as waste-to-energy projects and transfer stations.
- DA local governments will work with other spheres of government to progressively reduce waste to landfill, in order to ultimately achieve the goal of zero waste to landfill.
- The DA will pass and enforce by-laws that control industrial emissions and other forms of pollution, such as illegal dumping of toxic and hazardous waste.
- It has been estimated that waste pickers collect 90% of the recyclable material for South African households and save municipalities approximately R750 million in landfill space each year. Every DA municipality will have guidelines on the appropriate integration of waste pickers.
- We will ensure that every municipality we govern has an integrated waste management plan.
- Residents have rights and responsibilities. This offer relies, among other duties, on residents making use of bins and other appropriate means and facilities for disposing waste.

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