South African main opposition party Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane gestures as he salutes the crowd during the final Municipal Elections campaign rally at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, on July 30, 2016. (Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)
Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has persisted with his line that his party is the one that is true to former president Nelson Mandela’s vision.
In a speech entitled “Do it for Madiba”, he told the thousands that attended the DA’s final elections rally in his home grounds of Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday that the DA was the party that was perpetuating Mandela’s vision.
He said to loud cheers and vuvuzelas that the election of President Jacob Zuma to the ANC’s leadership “marked the end of Madiba’s ANC” and saw the birth of “a strange new organisation”.
Maimane said: “Selfless struggle gave way to selfish accumulation. Non-racialism gave way to the politics of race.
“The politics of the heart gave way to the politics of the stomach.
“This once-great movement had become what [former president] Thabo Mbeki called ‘an ignoble, blood-sucking and corrupt parasite’.”
He said the ANC under Zuma had become “everything it once fought against”.
He said the ANC “has become everything it once fought against. An organisation that looks after the connected few at the expense of the many.
“Back in 1994 we were promised a better life for all, but all we got was a better life for some.
“The ANC has turned its back on everything Nelson Mandela fought for,” Maimane said.
“And so, when I decided to make a different political choice, I did it for Madiba.”
Maimane said Mandela instilled values like “compassion, forgiveness, kindness, humanity and Ubuntu” in people, and he urged the crowd to join the DA.
“People are using the freedom that Nelson Mandela gave them to make a different choice.
“They are doing it for Madiba. In a democracy, you don’t need to be loyal to a party forever.
“When a party betrays you, you have a chance to punish it. A vote is not a tattoo that stays with you forever, or that everybody can see.
“You are free to change your vote, and your vote is your secret.
“Just because you voted for the ANC before, does not mean that you must vote for the ANC again,” he said.
Maimane has been criticised for appropriating Mandela for the DA's cause, with Zuma this week quoting a news report from 2000 in which Mandela made it clear that he did not support the DA.
The Mandela family also this week called for the removal of the DA's elections advertisement which reads: "Honour Madiba's dream. Vote DA."
The rally - one of the biggest in the party's history - was punctuated with performances, freedom songs, toyi toyi-ing as well as a few laps around the sport stadium led by motorcycles.
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