Johannesburg - South Africans had lost hope of a better future because of the current state of the country, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.
"Hopelessness is fast spreading across our towns and cities," he said in a speech prepared for delivery at a voting station in Alexandra.
"Almost daily I speak to ordinary South Africans who tell me they are not registering to vote because their vote won't change anything. They have lost all hope not just in our country, but our future."
Maimane said the low employment rate and increasing levels of poverty, lack of basic service delivery and growing corruption were among the reasons for this.
"I want to appeal to those who have given up hope and plan to not register to vote in this year's election. Your vote matters, and your vote can be the difference between a new, fresh, clean and citizen-orientated government, or five more years of the same," Maimane said.
He was confident that the DA could win Gauteng from the ANC.
"Here in Gauteng, the ANC barely won a majority with just 53% of the vote in the last election. The stakes have never been higher."
He told voters that the ANC was no longer that party that late former president Nelson Mandela had envisioned.
"Madiba's dream of 1994 is fast slipping away, as Jacob Zuma and his ANC continue to make themselves and those connected to them rich, while millions of South Africans suffer," Maimane said, emphasising the importance of every vote.
"You vote is your power. You can choose to vote for the political party you believe is best equipped to bring about a better, safer and more prosperous South African for all who live in it."