DA focuses on change

2016-07-05 13:10
Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen addresses party followers at the Royal Showgrounds.

Democratic Alliance chief whip John Steenhuisen addresses party followers at the Royal Showgrounds. (Amil Umraw, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Democratic Alliance did not pull any punches in lambasting the ruling party and President Jacob Zuma at a rally in Pietermaritzburg on Monday.

Speaking at the Royal Showgrounds to an audience of more than 500 followers, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen highlighted issues of unemployment, economic turmoil and social upheaval currently plaguing the country.

“We meet tonight in the face of the fact that over 8,9 million of our fellow countrymen and women are unemployed,” he said.

Calling the ANC the “African National Confusion party”, Steenhuisen dug into Zuma’s political decisions, paying particular attention to the finance minister shuffle.

“It is little wonder why investors are so unsure where they stand in South Africa; even we are left scratching our heads watching this vehicle swerve to the left and right of the road,” Steenhuisen said.

He then turned his attention to cabinet ministers.

“His [Zuma’s] Social Development minister, Bathabile Dlamini, can tell South Africans that they must get by on R783 per month, yet is happy to spend R11 900 on a six-hour stay at the luxury Oyster Box Hotel. Dlamini and the ANC come first, the people of South Africa last,” Steenhuisen said.

“The Defence minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, can abuse a defence force plane at your [taxpayers’] expense to fly to the Democratic Republic of Congo and collect her late son’s girlfriend, and then smuggle her back into the country, violating all the laws and regulations.

“As bad as all this sounds, the great thing is that it does not have to be like this. It can be fixed and we can give places like Pietermaritzburg a new lease on life. We have shown where we govern in the Western Cape and in cities like Cape Town that the right policy choices achieve the right results.”

Steenhuisen, in promoting DA mayoral candidate Mergan Chetty, said the party wants to “bring the DA difference” to Pietermaritzburg.

“You will have an opportunity to force the spring of change in your town. You can elect a mayor like Mergan Chetty, who will put the people of this city first, and you can elect a team of councillors who will serve you and your interests,” he said.

Taking the stage before Steenhuisen, Chetty, who was greeted with song and dance, focused on local government and said the ANC was “more interested in awarding tenders to their cadres instead of prioritising service delivery”.

He said the DA would ensure “incompetent and unqualified” cadres deployed to senior positions would be fired.

“We will employ people fit for purpose … for better and more efficient service delivery.”

Chetty described the Msunduzi Municipality as an “abandoned bus which is sliding downwards”.

“The municipality is suffering from serious maladministration, corruption, inept cadre deployment and high-ranking officials being suspended for enjoying liberties at taxpayers’ expense.”

Chetty promised better service delivery and zero tolerance on corruption.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  da
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