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Maimane gives some clues on DA's Gauteng election manifesto

Sarah Evans

The DA's premier candidate for Gauteng has hinted at its governance plans, which include fewer government departments and a referendum on e-tolls.

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane. (Gallo)

Jobs and ending corruption will top the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) Gauteng election manifesto, said the province's candidate for premier, Mmusi Maimane, on Monday.

Maimane also revealed insights into the DA's proposed governance plans for Gauteng, should it win the election, which involved a slimmer government, possibly with fewer government departments, and a more concrete plan for stopping e-tolling in Gauteng.

Maimane also announced the results of a poll conducted by the DA, which he said was proof the DA could wrest control of Gauteng from the ANC in 2014.

He said these interventions were what was likely to be announced at the official release of the DA's provincial election manifesto in March.

Among its proposals is the first sign of what the DA means when it says it will scrap e-tolls: a provincial referendum, which will be held if the party is elected, and a court challenge set down for March this year.

The DA said it called on Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane to request such a referendum in February 2013. But the premier did not respond to its query.

'Historic opportunity'
Maimane said the 2014 election was "an historic opportunity for change in democratic South Africa, the likes of which we have not seen since 1994".

He said former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki deserved credit for their efforts in reconciliation and on the economy, but under President Jacob Zuma's leadership, the country took a turn for the worse.

"The only people who seem to benefit are Jacob Zuma and his network of politically-connected business people. The fact is, since Zuma assumed the presidency in 2009, more than 1.4-million more people have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Jobs promises have amounted to nothing and corruption on a grand scale is there for all to see through projects like the Nkandla upgrades," said Maimane.

He also said the party was readying itself for governance with an "extensive process". This included a plan, Maimane said, that would create the environment for growth and job creation.

On jobs, the DA's manifesto would outline plans to grow an inclusive economy, Maimane said.

This will include a graduate recruitment programme, government internship programme, and job creation through ambitious extended public works programmes; support for entrepreneurs by establishing "opportunity centres" and rolling out "opportunity cards as a central means for people to access advice, credit and cash flow assistance; codes of good practice for supporting informal traders; directing public money to infrastructure projects in Gauteng; and helping small business win government contracts by breaking down large tenders into smaller opportunities, and expanding community supplier databases.

On corruption, Maimane said the DA's plan involved reducing and restructuring a number of government departments in Gauteng in an attempt to better manage provincial funds. Another intervention Maimane promised was the opening up of tender committee meetings to the public to increase transparency, and revising the ministerial handbook, while reducing perks for government officials.

Poll results
But the biggest of Maimane's announcements was the poll results, which supposedly paint Zuma's popularity among Gauteng voters as bitterly low.

"The DA's polling shows that the ANC can be brought under 50% in Gauteng. I can also announce today that Jacob Zuma is the key reason for the ANC's declining support in the province. President Zuma's favourability in Gauteng among people who previously supported the ANC stands at a mere 18% – half of what it is in the rest of the country.

"The reason, according to our research, is that Gauteng residents believe that Jacob Zuma has changed the ANC. President Zuma's ANC is no longer the ANC of Mandela and Mbeki. It has given up on creating jobs for everyone and has allowed corruption to flourish unchecked," said Maimane.

An Ipsos report, released on Saturday, says the ANC's support countrywide has slipped to 53% among eligible voters.

In November 2008, before Zuma's ascension to the presidency, the ANC's support was polled at 63%. By November 2012, it was at 61%, and by November 2013, it was at 53%.

The poll said the DA's support increased from 13% in 2008 to 18% in 2013.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Monday the views of several analysts, who, although not specifically asked about Maimane, seemed to share his views that Zuma was damaging the ANC's hopes.

Other analysts believed the party's biggest problem was corruption and public trust.


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