I haven't sold out – DA's Cachalia

2016-05-04 08:45
Ghaleb Cachalia (Ahmed Ahreff, News24)

Johannesburg  Ghaleb Cachalia's late parents, Yusuf and Amina, were well-known for being associated with the ANC and the struggle against apartheid. 

Cachalia, however, is adamant that his move to the Democratic Alliance, to stand as its mayoral candidate for Ekurhuleni in August's local government elections, was not a sign that he had "sold-out" the struggle. 

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"Some people think that I have sold out, in terms of moving from the ANC to the DA. This is not about parties, it never has been. This is about the future of this country," he told News24 on Tuesday. 

"This quasi-religious adherence and blind faith that is placed in a party [the ANC], whether it is right or wrong, whether it is corrupt or crooked, is misplaced. 

"When those come to pass and when you realise that the situation in a particular party is unsalvageable, when 100 members of the NEC of the ANC are unable to voice anything in criticism of the party and the president, then I think the time has come to say, 'this is not working'," Cachalia said.

Capitalising on dissatisfaction

He said he looked at what was working, and chose the DA. 

"Their values are beyond reproach and I think we have a fighting chance to win new municipalities."

In reference to comments by Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema, on Saturday that the elections were only between his party and the ANC, Cachalia said the EFF was just capitalising on the dissatisfaction people have with the ruling party. 

"There is massive dissatisfaction in this country with the ANC. That dissatisfaction resides in various places and pockets in society," Cachalia said. 

"The EFF is able to capitalise and mobilise a populist message which speaks to certain people and excites them in their opposition  they come to EFF functions in numbers as a result."

Malema addressed a 40 000 capacity crowd at Orlando Stadium in Soweto at the weekend for his party's election manifesto launch.

'Visible and vocal'

Cachalia said the "visible and the vocal" were important but they were "not the only people out there". 

"A large number of people who vote are not necessarily visible and vocal," he said. "It is the ordinary people who go to work every day. Those who wake up and don't have work. Those are the people that will vote in large numbers... that will make the visible and the vocal largely immaterial," Cachalia said. 

"Having said that, I do not dismiss the EFF," he added. "They have mustered a fair number of votes in the past and I'm sure with the headwind that the ANC has granted them  and us [the DA]  they will garner more." 

Cachalia announced at a press briefing earlier on Tuesday that he was embarking on a "listening tour" for a month around the metro  listening to the concerns of its citizens, and working to put together his own manifesto for Ekurhuleni. 

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