(AFP PHOTO / RODGER BOSCH)
DA leader Mmusi Maimane says no good can come from a coalition between the EFF and the ANC and insists that the EFF must be investigated in connection with claims that the party benefited from the collapse of VBS Mutual Bank.
Maimane made the comments during an interview with News24 during which he defended his party's posters, which urged voters to keep the ANC and EFF out of the Western Cape.
The DA currently enjoys majority control of the province and is seeking a fresh mandate, despite a series of political blunders and controversies over the past year, including a clash between the party and former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille over her role in both the party and the City.
"I do think there would be something inherently dangerous about a coalition between the ANC and EFF. Once you get to those issues (the VBS allegations), then the amendment of the Constitution around section 25 becomes possible, which is equally dangerous from where I sit," Maimane said.
"We are in an election here! Therefore I must maximise how many voters turn up and must make them aware of the worries and the dangers that could come on board," he said as he defended his party's position.
The DA leader seemed to struggle to explain why the EFF, which is in a working partnership with his party, deserved to be kept out of the Western Cape but remained good enough to work with in two of Gauteng's metros - Johannesburg and Tshwane. He said he believed the EFF needed to be investigated for "strong" allegations that its leaders and the party received money from VBS bank.
READ: #VBS scandal DA opens criminal case against EFF leaders
"What must we do? Say it's the EFF - I must remain hush hush and keep quiet? No! there is a principle here and it must be applied across [the board], and if there were allegations of corruption against the DA, they must also be investigated," said Maimane.
"You're either principled or not principled. Principle is this, no matter what the arrangement is, if you are corrupt, you are corrupt and we must stand up. It doesn't matter who it is," the leader of South Africa's largest opposition party continued.
Maimane said the country deserved to know the full extent of what happened at VBS. Advocate Terry Motau, in his report on VBS, found that 53 people and companies looted the bank to the tune of R1.9bn.
Maimane, referring to EFF leader Julius Malema's threat to "cut the throat of whiteness" last year before the ousting of then Nelson Mandela Bay Metro mayor Athol Trollip, said because the DA was not engaged in a written contract with the red berets, his party couldn't call the EFF and ask for it to explain.
Malema complained about the DA's attitude towards the EFF during the campaign season, saying it felt "personal" to him "because of the way they have gone after the EFF".
"Their attack on the EFF makes it extremely impossible to even pick up the phone and call them," Malema said earlier this month.
"The DA logged a complaint over EFF posters in the Western Cape. These are the people we put in power in Tshwane and Johannesburg," he added.
Polls always been wrong
Maimane seemed unfazed about pre-election polls that show the DA may not improve its performance from the 22.23% it garnered in 2014.
According to City Press, an Ipsos poll conducted between March and April this year puts the party at 15% - a significant drop from 2014. The latest Institute of Race Relations poll has support for the stable DA at 21.3%.
"At every election, polls have put us way down. In Nelson Mandela Bay, in Tshwane they did that, in Joburg they did that. So I've been through the history where polls and pollsters say things about us that are not true," Maimane responded.
According to the party, its own internal poll shows more and more South Africans are buying into its "One South Africa for all" message, which Maimane insists will attract a lot of new voters to the DA.
He also expressed hope that his party would secure enough votes to form a coalition at a national level, with the DA being the strongest partner.
"The future is coalitions at national level. It's the way the world is orientated and if we don't achieve that, then we are perpetuating a one-party state and that has brought us state capture," said Maimane.
De Lille and Ramaphosa
Maimane made his own observations of ANC presidential candidate Cyril Ramaphosa, saying that while he was more favourable than his predecessor Jacob Zuma, the party just changed the driver of a broken-down bus.
"South Africans would obviously reflect on the fact that we had Mr Zuma, now we have Mr Ramaphosa. Therefore, it looks like there is a change but actually for the people on the ground, what has changed? For people on the ground, they feel they are still poor, they are still hungry and there are no jobs," he remarked.
He compared the change of guard in the liberation movement to Zimbabwe's own political situation where long-time leader Robert Mugabe was removed in a coup and replaced by his former ally Emerson Mnangagwa. Zimbabwe's economy and living conditions have not improved much despite the change of leadership.
"We've told people our biggest problem is corruption. Yes, it is. But our even bigger problem is that fundamentally our economy is broken and needs reform and the ANC is incapable of reform," he said.
Commenting on former Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, who once formed part of the DA's leadership collective, Maimane insisted that De Lille jumped before the party could push her. He said there was no formal employment contract but that all the DA had tried to do was hold her accountable for her actions.
"South Africans are not asking about GOOD, they are asking how do we create more jobs. How can I be safe? How do we get a provincial rail service in Gauteng? That's what citizens are looking for. [I] think they are put off by people who want to talk about the past," he said.
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