“We promise you a better life, while the ANC promises you a better afterlife,” feisty Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille said to thunderous applause yesterday.
The sea of blue T-shirt-clad supporters represented the rainbow nation in Kliptown at the DA’s election manifesto launch.
Taking a swipe at the ruling party, Zille said there was no free ride in the DA. “There’s no boetie-boetie politics here,” she said.
The DA’s manifesto showcases the party’s good governance in the munipalities it governs around the country.
In addition, it will feature a slate of new young black leaders in a campaign geared to show it is ready to govern.
While the ruling ANC has published a manifesto short on detail, the DA puts a lot more meat on its plans to govern and deliver services to the people.
Like the DA’s 2006 manifesto under former leader Tony Leon, the emphasis is still on capitalising on the ANC’s failures at local government level.
Leon said at the time: “The ANC has plunged local government into crisis. Throughout the country ANC-controlled municipalities are racked by maladministration and corruption.”
Fast forward to 2011 and Zille warns voters along similar lines: “You can choose five years of corruption, inefficiency, poor service delivery and economic decline. Or you can choose the DA.”
As in 2006, the DA has prioritised job creation and delivering essential services to the public as the key manifesto themes.
But Zille wants to counter the view that the party is mainly supported by whites. On the hustings, the DA is set to reveal a generation of young black leaders, including the national spokesperson, Lindiwe Mazibuko, and the Johannesburg mayoral candidate, Mmusi Maimane, either of whom could be South African presidents one day, Zille believes.
Mazibuko headlines the party’s key poll poster, which also features Zille and Patricia de Lille, who is mayoral candidate for Cape Town.
According to Zille, the DA has cleaned up government, increased efficiency and improved financial management in all municipalities it governs.
“The result has been better service delivery for everybody, but particularly the poor and unemployed.
“This manifesto is not a series of unconnected promises. It is a set of interlocking policies which, when implemented together, make a real difference in people’s lives,” she says.