DA lives by Mandela's ideals - Maimane

2016-07-18 16:28

Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's dream of a non-racial South Africa is one the Democratic Alliance lives by, party leader Mmusi Maimane told journalists on Monday.

During a visit to the Othandweni women's shelter in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, Maimane said Mandela's dream was to see all races "come together and work together for the emancipation of all South Africans".

"That is the project I am engaged with," he added.

Maimane spent his 67 minutes on Mandela Day giving out blankets and toiletries to the women in the centre.

He said poverty needed to be addressed through the empowerment of women.

"Often poverty is becoming more and more feminine. Today we [thought] to bring some personal items to women in this particular shelter to say here is something for your own personal benefit... these are things we take for granted... It's us saying let’s not forget about the women who raise nations."

'Violation of the electoral code'

Maimane added that there was nothing wrong with the DA using Mandela's voice in its election campaign advert.

"We never claimed that Mandela was not a member of the ANC. What we should never forget is that he was the first democratically elected president of the country, a pillar which all of us look at for non-racialism... I think that transcends politics... the advert seeks to communicate his legacy. It says are we going to live up his legacy."

Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, demanded that the DA withdraw an election advertisement featuring Madiba's voice

Mandla Mandela said in a statement that the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) should act against the DA, as the advert was a "gross violation of the electoral code".

The DA advertisement, which went live earlier this month, features a woman in a voting booth making her mark next to the party's logo after hearing Mandela's voice.

It is not the first time Mandela has featured in an elections campaign. In 2014, shortly after his death in December 2013, several parties accused each other of using his name to score political points.

'We are suffering'

Faith Ngebo, who was present during Maimane's visit, said the government needed to make better interventions to help destitute women.  

She paid R15 a day for her bed at the shelter, she told News24.

"Sometimes I don't have money and I have to find that R15 to stay at the shelter," she said.

Ngebo said she was grateful that Maimane had visited the shelter.

"Seeing Mmusi is an honour because I have never met a president of a political party before.

He is coming to see how we live and our suffering and I think he must tell government [it] must expand its work. Most of us here we are mothers, we are suffering. Government must do something. We need jobs. Government must expand its service to improve our lives."

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