Pretoria – Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has urged South Africans to desist from violent protests, and rather register their dissatisfaction with government at the polls.
“South Africans have a right to protest but we condemn violent protests. We come from a history of violent protests and what we don’t want in this country is more bloodshed in our society,” said Maimane.
“It will regress us as a society. The biggest protest we can give, is to vote out a government that is no longer delivering services to the people.”
Maimane was speaking during a voter registration drive in Mamelodi on Sunday. He said as much as people wanted to take to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with government, they could also protest by voting out the current government.
“The biggest protest is to arrive and vote out this ANC and elect leaders that can deliver for the people. We must see change and it must be a change that cuts corruption and starts delivery while moving South Africa in the right direction,” said Maimane.
Power to change
He called on the youth to come out in their numbers to register to vote. He said they had the power to elect a government that would work for them.
“We want a government that will work for all South Africans. We don’t want a South Africa that discriminates against others. I want to encourage the youth to register to vote for change. As the chief justice has said, we can’t allow people who have broken the Constitution to stay in power for ever. We must choose today to say it’s time for change and therefore as young people this is your future," said Maimane.
"Many of you will finish school and go to university or join the ranks of those who are looking for work. Sixty percent of people who don’t have jobs are young people like you and we don’t want that. We want to have a government that will create jobs for yourselves,” he said.
Maimane said as the country remembered the death of former SACP leader, Chris Hani, 23 years ago, those in positions of power needed to refrain from neglecting voters and only focusing on themselves.
Reflect on Chris Hani
“Today we reflect on the life of Chris Hani, and South Africans who paid with their lives for our freedom. We can’t take their sacrifices for granted. We can’t cheapen their sacrifices by building lavish houses for ourselves. We must do the honourable thing and govern for all. We have to move away from a system that has captured the state to a system that will bring opportunities for everyone. Today, aluta continua, not alooting continues,” said Maimane.
He was joined on the day by five youngsters who registered to vote for the first time. The group said they wanted to inspire others to vote in order to better their lives.
Thelma Maphutha said, “I want to inspire youth to register so that we can make a change. We are complaining about the problems regarding electricity and street lights in my street because they don’t work.”
Ronelle Makhubela said, “I’m registering so that we can make a difference. Next year we are going to university and we want to know that when we get there we will get support from government.”
Maimane, along with members of his party, also gave an elderly woman and her child wheelchairs.