(Thulani Gqirana, News24)
Port Elizabeth – DA leader Mmusi Maimane has again slammed President Jacob Zuma’s African National Congress, accusing the party of standing against struggle icon Nelson Mandela’s values.
“You might as well argue the case and say the best branch of the ANC is in heaven. That’s the branch of Nelson Mandela,” he said on Tuesday.
Maimane was addressing media in Nelson Mandela Bay, following widespread criticism of his speech in Dobsonville that he had voted for the ANC in 1999.
Maimane said Zuma’s ANC went against everything Mandela stood for.
“What’s left behind here is only supporters and cheerleaders of Jacob Zuma and people who don’t understand what reconciliation looks like, who don’t understand what redress must look like. They have failed the people of this country,” he said.
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The DA’s last stretch strategy has been to appeal to the heartstrings of South Africans by using the Mandela’s powerful legacy, and accusing Zuma of not living up to it.
Speech after speech, the DA leader has called on voters to honour Mandela, and various other struggle heroes including Chris Hani, by voting against the ANC.
This has raised the ire of the ANC, who then hit back at Maimane, accusing him of “appropriating” their heroes because they did not have any worth mentioning.
Painting the DA a white party, Zuma has repeatedly called on the DA to use (BJ) Vorster, (Hendrik) Verwoerd, PW Botha as their reference point, as the party was “the offspring of the apartheid National Party”.
“When the ANC falls, Mandela will continue to stand”
Maimane on Tuesday said raced-based fear was the only card the ANC could pull during this campaign period.
He said Zuma could only invoke the ancestors and religion in the fight for the hotly contested metros.
“It is crystal clear that in the absence of ideas, men who come from the ANC will resort to invoking of history and ultimately to insults. We will not put up with that, we will not resort to that. We will stand for people of this country,” he said.
Maimane said he would never be ashamed of saying the party would stand for Mandela’s values.
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They were contesting this election, he said, for Madiba.
“The values of Nelson Mandela are values that will be continued only in one organisation, and that organisation is the DA. These values are what we are contesting for. I have never contested for his membership. I say this boldly, when the ANC falls, Nelson Mandela will continue to stand,” he said.
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