Helen Zille: 'Zuma's ANC has forgotten about the people'

2014-02-23 15:48

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Corruption, President Jacob Zuma and government featured prominently in DA leader Helen Zille’s speech at the party’s well-attended manifesto launch in Polokwane.

Zille today shared with a sea of blue, made up of about 15 000 DA supporters, her political and struggle credentials before proceeding to slam the ANC and Zuma.

“Some of us have a background in the liberal opposition to apartheid. In those days we had our political differences but we put them aside to work together for justice,” she said.

“That is why I hid ANC activists in my house in the 1980s. It is why I worked as a journalist to expose the murder of Steve Biko by the security police.”

Zille also praised former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, saying they had a good story to tell as South Africa made progress under their leadership.

“Basic services like water, electricity, sanitation and housing were rolled out (under Mandela and Mbeki). The economy started to grow, unemployment dropped and many people’s standard of living rose. Measures to fix the injustices of the past were introduced,” she said.

“In those days people thought SA was going in the right direction but then the tide turned. Things changed right here in Polokwane in December 2007."

Zille said things changed when Zuma was elected at the ANC’s conference where Mbeki lost the race and when “charges against Zuma on 783 counts of corruption were dropped”.

“That was the moment when a great political movement lost its sense of direction. It was hijacked by leaders who care more about themselves than the people they are meant to serve,” she said.

“Zuma’s ANC has forgotten about the people. Since Jacob Zuma was elected president, 1.4 million more South Africans have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Nearly eight million people do not have work or have given up looking.”

She then moved on to Nkandlagate. “Think of the millions of hardworking people who have seen their money wasted. Public money that should have been used to deliver services to the poor has been wasted on corrupt projects like Nkandla; R200 million of public money for one private house while many do not have a house at all,” Zille said.

“Think of how another one million South Africans have given up looking for work under President Zuma and then think of what we can do if we work together for change, together for jobs. The manifesto we release today is a manifesto for jobs because every proposal in it aims to get millions of South Africans into real, permanent jobs created in a growing economy.

“Change is possible. Jobs are possible. Six million real and permanent jobs are within our grasp if we seize the moment at this election," she said.

Zille cited good governance, clean audits, high score sheets for service delivery and low unemployment rates as proof that the DA-led Western Cape government had a better story to tell.

She said her party would train 15 000 more teachers annually and would increase the National Student Financial Aid Scheme budget to R16 billion.

Zille further promised a youth wage subsidy that would benefit 423 000 youths in the first three years and seven million Expanded Public Works Programme opportunities.

“Compare our plans to cut corruption and create six million real jobs with what the other parties are offering and consider our track record of delivering to the poor where we govern. Give us a chance to make South Africa a better place, a chance to get our country back on track," she said.

DA Manifesto

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