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More Elections

Country is sliding backwards – Maimane

2016-04-23 16:57
The stage bearing DA leader Mmusi Maimane's face at the party's election manifesto launch in Johannesburg.

Johannesburg – In recent years the country has started to move backwards, DA leader Mmusi Maimane told thousands of supporters on Saturday.

“We have seen an increase in corruption, starting at the very top,” he said at the party’s manifesto launch at the Rand Stadium, south of Johannesburg.

“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.”

Maimane claimed jobs were being lost because companies were taking their investment elsewhere.

The ANC-led government had 22 years to move the country forward but it felt like South Africa was moving backwards, he said.

Fight for the metros

Maimane focused his address on the country’s biggest metros – Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Of all the metros, the ANC-run Tshwane and Johannesburg were at the bottom of list.

This year’s local government elections were set to be a fight for the metros and the DA has vowed to take control from the ANC.

Maimane was joined on Saturday by the party’s mayoral candidates for the metros – Athol Trollip for Nelson Mandela Bay, Patricia De Lille for Cape Town, Ghaleb Cachalia for Ekurhuleni and Solly Msimanga for Tshwane.

Johannesburg mayoral candidate Herman Mashaba missed the launch because he is in China. 

More than 20 000 at launch

When Maimane arrived at the 30 000-seater stadium supporters cheered as he walked a lap around the stadium accompanied by some of the mayoral candidates. 

The stadium was almost full. The seats behind the stage were covered in DA banners but an overflow area was provided on the field.

At noon the party said there were more than 20 000 in the stadium.

Maimane said the Western Cape and Midvaal – where the DA governed – were proof of the party's track record in contrast to ANC-led municipalities.

“The fact is, when towns and cities don’t work, South Africa cannot work.

“And when you look at the state of cities and towns across the country, you can see why South Africa is moving backwards,” Maimane said.

He said the DA’s manifesto was a blueprint for how the opposition party would transform metros and municipalities into “thriving hubs of opportunity”.

Fixing the basics

Maimane said the party recognised that jobs were created by small businesses and not by government and the party would create jobs by attracting and supporting new small businesses.

“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.”

Maimane said this year’s election was a chance for people to send a message to President Jacob Zuma and the ANC that they were “sick and tired of their empty promises”.

At the apex of his address, Maimane asked supporters to stand up. It took a while for them to respond but eventually Maimane had people on their feet, cheering and blowing whistles and vuvuzelas.

“You have to make a change… This is your power in a democracy: the power to change things. The power to make things better than they are.

“The power to hire and fire politicians. You are the boss – not the Guptas,” he said to loud cheers.

“Let’s fire a government that has stopped caring and let’s hire the only one that can do the job," he said.

Read more on: da  |  mmusi maimane  |  johannesburg  |  local elections 2016  |  politics

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