President Jacob Zuma yesterday continued his attacks on the opposition, telling people in Nelson Mandela Bay that they should not vote for the DA because it represented a lineage of the apartheid National Party.
Dumping his prepared speech and what the ANC’s elections manifesto says, Zuma gave a fierce but interactive speech full of anecdotes and imagery, telling thousands that white people running the DA cannot be trusted with governing the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
Zuma repeated the same message he had delivered on his campaign trail this week in Cape Town and Ekurhuleni, where he asked people if they had forgotten where they came from.
“We cannot be ruled by an offspring of apartheid,” he said.
Zuma, who spoke in isiXhosa for the duration of his speech at the ANC’s Siyanqoba rally at Dan Qeqe Stadium in Zwide, said the DA’s parents put former president Nelson Mandela in prison for 27 years, but the party now wanted to claim him as its hero.
“The DA is running short of heroes and now it claims Mandela. They are the ones who incarcerated him for 27 years,” said Zuma.
But he was not done.
“A snake is poisonous and only gives birth to another snake,” said Zuma.
He said those voting for the DA were “going backwards when all of us are going forward”. All we hear from them is “Zuma, Nkandla and corruption”, he said.
He compared South Africa’s attainment of democracy to the Biblical release of the Israelites in Egypt, and said: “You cannot leave Egypt and then want to go back.”
Opinion polls have given the DA a chance to topple the ANC in the metro following the party’s lacklustre performance there in 2014 – it dropped below 50%.
The DA has fielded its strongest candidate, Athol Trollip, to wrestle control from the ANC’s Danny Jordaan, who is the mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
Zuma told the hundreds of ANC members and supporters yesterday that a vote for the DA meant a return to black oppression.
He said the DA was born of the National Party – which killed a lot of people – and shared the same hatred of the ANC, which it got from its mother’s womb.
“Every time the DA opens its mouth, it speaks about the ANC. That is the same thing that the National Party used to do. It has that hate because it does not believe that black people could govern,” said Zuma.
He said white DA supporters also snubbed party leader Mmusi Maimane’s events because they had not changed.
Zuma also painted the opposition as inexperienced in government and lacking the struggle credentials that the ANC enjoyed.
He said the ANC’s service delivery track record was evident because poor people now had clean water and houses.
“And wherever you are, if we have not touched you, then we are still coming. We have been in government for more than 20 years and we know how to run a government,” he said.
“Others tell you to vote for them, but they know nothing about the struggle or government.”