'We must put a DA government here in Gauteng' - Maimane

2018-04-07 15:29
DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Mahlatse Mahlase, News24)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. (Mahlatse Mahlase, News24)

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Democratic Alliance federal leader Mmusi Maimane has laid down the gauntlet for the party's Gauteng delegates, saying a DA election victory in the province can help halt corruption.

Maimane delivered his opening address at the DA's federal congress on Saturday morning, where more than 2 000 party delegates clad in the party's blue and white filed into the Tshwane Events Centre.

The Sowetan-born leader had a special challenge for those DA delegates who were there as part of the "home crowd".

"This province is special to me. It is where I grew up, in Soweto, and where I met my wife, my rock," he said.

"I never felt energy like I feel in this place... next year after the election, we must put a DA government here in Gauteng."

Maimane identified the province as "the battleground for the future of our country", and what happened in Gauteng, would reverberate around the country.

"The tide is turning in Gauteng. Seven years ago, we won in Midvaal.

"Two years ago on August 3, we won in Joburg. And on that day we also won, right here, in Pretoria.

"Many people did not believe the ANC could lose, yet now they are learning what it's like to be in opposition."

'We don't need a new dawn. We need a new start'

Maimane laid into the ruling party's supposed "new dawn", asking how a government full of corruption-linked individuals could end corruption in government.

"How can we speak of a new dawn when our cabinet is still crammed full of corrupt ministers, and when our deputy president has a cloud of allegations hanging over his head?" he asked.

At this, a picture of Deputy President David Mabuza beamed overhead, to jeers and laughs from the 2 000-strong crowd.

"This so-called new dawn will happily play along in removing a mayor who is eradicating bucket toilets and making his city safe simply because his skin is the wrong colour," he said referencing Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip.

"We don't need a new dawn. We need a plan to put millions of people in jobs."

Also read: DA's race policy scares other parties - Maimane

In the DA's Western Cape, they had a blueprint for how the DA would govern when it came to corruption.

"Corruption is going up everywhere in the country, in the Western Cape they have finished it.

"I want to know that when next year comes around ... for the third successive time, we must bring our majority in the Western Cape."

Their task now was to make sure every South African knew exactly who the DA was, and what they would get in a DA government.

"Most of all we need a plan to break down the walls that this government has erected between the insiders and the outsiders in our society."

Party to debate 'heated' amendments

Earlier in his speech, Maimane paid tribute to late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The day started off around 09:00 with delegates filing into the venue in song, showing their support for their preferred candidates for leadership positions.

Other speakers during the opening session included all DA mayors around the country, with the exception of embattled Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

Maimane's wife Natalie also described Mmusi's qualities as a husband and father, while former DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme also spoke.

The DA Congress in Tshwane will later on Saturday debate adding the term "diversity" to its Constitution as a party pillar, with a heated debate expected to take place on whether that entails racial diversity or diversity of thought.

The Congress is due to start debating its various resolutions after lunch from 13:45, starting with party's policies on the economy on jobs.

Other hot topics later on Saturday will include the policy on land reform at 15:15, and amendments to the DA Constitution at 17:15.

Voting and election of the DA's new leadership will take place on Sunday.

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Read more on:    mmusi mai­mane  |  tshwane  |  da federal congress

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