Mmusi and Dali: It’s a bromance

2014-04-30 08:19

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The bromance between the DA’s Mmusi Maimane and the EFF’s Dali Mpofu stole the show during a debate-turned-roast in Joburg.

After exchanging hugs before the event, Mpofu snuck his red beret onto Maimane’s head. During the debate, the pair poked fun at the belated arrival of the ANC representative and shared a chuckle over the idea of a coalition between the two parties.

Even when the debate circled in on racial polarisation, the two laughingly fought over the microphone after Mpofu labelled the DA “a party that represents white interests”.

Hosted by Live Magazine SA at JoziHub, the debate was part of its VIP: Voting is Power campaign. It asked each party to convince the youth why it deserved their vote.

An unyielding and vocal audience asked questions under the direction of moderator Cathy Mohlahlana, who also called in young voters from Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Bloemfontein via Google Hangout.

Nothing was sacred with topics ranging from the lack of quality education to food parcels at political rallies to low youth engagement in politics.

“Most people talk to the youth or at the youth, but not with the youth,” Mpofu said in his opening remarks. This sentiment was echoed by Agang SA’s Andrew Gasnolar and Maimane, who went on to promise more involvement for young South Africans in policy creation and local government under the DA.

The ANC’s scheduled representative was Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula, but 30 minutes into the debate, the only ANC representative was “the ghost of Albert Luthuli” joked comedian Deep Friend Man, who had started off the programme earlier.

The ANC’s Mawethu Rune soon took the stage, but because he wasn’t introduced, he was known as “Comrade Unknown” throughout the debate’s Twitter conversation at #LiveVIPZA.

As soon as he sat down, Mohlahlana asked him how the ANC was dealing with rampant corruption. As he tried to sidestep the question, she kept pushing the issue and was met with raucous applause.

Rune said corruption was a “societal issue” but Maimane didn’t let him off the hook, instead renaming the party “the African National Corruption”.

Many of the questions focused on the young participants’ frustration with the education system and unemployment rates. Gasnolar promised teacher audits and improved facilities under Agang’s manifesto.

When Rune mentioned the 30% pass rate as not “enough” to get into a university, Mohlahlana pushed further.

“So why is it the pass rate?” she demanded after several follow-up questions. The crowd voiced its support for her outrage, which Rune attempted to placate with an explanation of the need for lower-skilled jobs in the growing South African economy.

The debate opened and closed with a voter’s preference poll via SMS. The poll represents 20% of the estimated 150 young people attending the debate.

At the beginning, the ANC had a high lead over the opposition. However, the post-debate results showed a significant drop in ANC support. The DA also experienced a drop in support but led the final poll, followed by the EFF, the ANC, Cope and Agang.

Graphic: Live Magazine SA

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