The stage bearing DA leader Mmusi Maimane's face at the party's election manifesto launch in Johannesburg.
Johannesburg – In recent years the country has started to
move backwards, DA leader Mmusi Maimane told thousands of supporters on
“We have seen an increase in corruption, starting at the
very top,” he said at the party’s manifesto launch at the Rand Stadium, south
“We have a president who was found by the Constitutional
Court to have broken the Constitution and the law. We have an economy in
decline because of government mismanagement.”
Maimane claimed jobs were being lost because companies were
taking their investment elsewhere.
The ANC-led government had 22 years to move the country
forward but it felt like South Africa was moving backwards, he said.
Fight for the metros
Maimane focused his address on the country’s biggest metros
– Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Of all the metros, the ANC-run Tshwane and Johannesburg were
at the bottom of list.
This year’s local government elections were set to be a
fight for the metros and the DA has vowed to take control from the ANC.
Maimane was joined on Saturday by the party’s mayoral
candidates for the metros – Athol Trollip for Nelson Mandela Bay, Patricia De
Lille for Cape Town, Ghaleb Cachalia for Ekurhuleni and Solly Msimanga for
Johannesburg mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba missed the
launch because he is in China.
More than 20 000 at launch
When Maimane arrived at the 30 000-seater
stadium supporters cheered as he walked a lap around the stadium accompanied
by some of the mayoral candidates.
The stadium was almost full. The seats behind the stage were
covered in DA banners but an overflow area was provided on the field.
At noon the party said there were more than 20 000
in the stadium.
Maimane said the Western Cape and Midvaal – where the DA
governed – were proof of the party's track record in contrast to ANC-led
“The fact is, when towns and cities don’t work, South Africa
“And when you look at the state of cities and towns across
the country, you can see why South Africa is moving backwards,” Maimane said.
He said the DA’s manifesto was a blueprint for how the
opposition party would transform metros and municipalities into “thriving hubs
Fixing the basics
Maimane said the party recognised that jobs were created by
small businesses and not by government and the party would create jobs by
attracting and supporting new small businesses.
“This begins with fixing the basics – making your area clean
and safe, with good affordable transport, high-speed internet and stable
electricity and water supply.”
Maimane said this year’s election was a chance for people to
send a message to President Jacob Zuma and the ANC that they were “sick and
tired of their empty promises”.
At the apex of his address, Maimane asked supporters to
stand up. It took a while for them to respond but eventually Maimane had people
on their feet, cheering and blowing whistles and vuvuzelas.
“You have to make a change… This is your power in a
democracy: the power to change things. The power to make things better than
“The power to hire and fire politicians. You are the boss –
not the Guptas,” he said to loud cheers.
“Let’s fire a government that has stopped caring and let’s
hire the only one that can do the job," he said.