(Thulani Gqirana, News24)
Johannesburg – “The face of poverty in 2016 is still black. The ANC governs as if black lives don’t matter,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane told supporters on Saturday. "It's time to fire the ANC and give the DA a chance."
He was speaking at the Rand Stadium, south of Johannesburg, at the launch of his party’s manifesto for this year’s local government elections.
He called on people to fire the ANC and give the DA chance.
“The election on August 3 is a local government election, but it is also so much more than that. It is a referendum on the future of our country,” Maimane told supporters.
"The election is an opportunity to send a message to President [Jacob] Zuma and the ANC that we are sick and tired of their empty promises.”
Maimane said although apartheid was dead and buried the country still lived with its legacy and this was evident in the quality of education children receive.
The poorest schoolchildren are being neglected and the gap is widening every day, he said.
"Half our children don't even make it to matric let alone pass. It is painful to say this but, two decades after the birth of our democracy, Bantu Education is alive and well," he said.
This is why young black people are falling behind when it comes to skills and jobs.
“This is why, in 2016, the face of poverty is still black. And this is why it is true when we say – the ANC governs as if black lives don’t matter.”
Here are the main points from the DA’s manifesto launch:
Maimane said the DA's manifesto recognises that jobs are created by small businesses and not by government.
“The DA will bring jobs to your area by attracting and supporting new small business.
“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.”
He said this is the DA's recipe for success in Midvaal, the only municipality it runs in Gauteng.
The DA will make it easier for businesses to start up and survive.
Using Midvaal as an example, he said the municipality has simplified by-laws and procedures and cut the turnaround time for land use applications.
The DA will ensure that municipal officials prioritise all applications relating to job-creation investments. Under the ANC government jobs are being lost every day because companies are taking their investments elsewhere, Maimane claimed.
The DA will ensure it creates a comprehensive, expanded public works programme which fairly benefits all.
Well-run cities and towns create jobs, Maimane said.
- Service delivery
Maimane told supporters he has been travelling around South Africa and has seen broken roads, lights and pipes.
“Water and sanitation, electricity, refuse collection, firefighting, housing and public transport are crucial for individuals to succeed,” he said.
"Local municipalities are responsible for delivering these services.
"When towns and cities don’t work, South Africa cannot work,” Maimane said.
The DA said in its manifesto that it will provide better services by fixing potholes and maintaining all municipal roads and provide access to electricity, water and sanitation.
There will be weekly refuse collection for formal and informal settlements.
DA run-municipalities will prioritise regular maintenance and refurbishment of municipal infrastructure.
Maimane said the party will invest heavily in public transport.
Maimane said corruption in the country starts at the very top, referring to the Constitutional Court’s Nkandla ruling.
"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."
The DA has promised to establish a system that will process complaints and report corruption.
Government staff will be appointed based on the value they add.
The DA will ensure it opens up tender processes at the adjudication stage.
It will open up council meetings.
Maimane said it is up to citizens to vote for change, the power is in their hands.
"This is your power in a democracy: the power to change things, the power to make things better then they are, the power to hire and fire politicians. You are the boss – not the Guptas,” Maimane said.