In the same neighbourhood where he grew up, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane delivered his closing argument to voters ahead of the May 8 polls.
In a rousing speech delivered to several thousand people at Soweto’s Dobsonville stadium, Maimane made the pitch that after the last nine years of a Jacob Zuma presidency, and just over a year of Cyril Ramaphosa as head of state, the ANC does not deserve South Africa’s vote.
The DA leader’s speech was preceded by pitches by DA Gauteng leader John Moodey, and the DA’s Gauteng Premier candidate Solly Msimanga.
Bringing the ANC below 50% in the province is an election target of the DA. It means the party can attempt to cobble together its own coalition to form a government with other parties in the Provincial Legislature.
Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip — who’s also the party’s federal chairperson told voters to look at examples of what the DA says is good, clean governance where it governs.
The DA has made no bones that it plans to make attempts to retake the Metro’s mayorship after the National and Provincial polls and reinstall Trollip as mayor.
During his speech, Maimane raised concerns over corruption, wasteful spending, and key scandals that have dogged the administration of the country’s last two presidents.
“How would they feel about the R1.2-trillion that was stolen during state capture? How would they feel about all the waste and excess… Think about children and mothers sleeping on hospital floors. Think about 144 mental health patients who died at the hands of their government at Esidimeni. Think about 34 striking miners who were shot down and killed by the hand of their government at Marikana,” Maimane said.
Maimane spoke about how the party has grown over the last 25 years.
Drawing on its roots out of the now-defunct Democratic Party (DP), Maimane said the DA has grown from only 1.7% of the vote in 1994 to now governing four of the countries major metros after the 2016 local government election.
“We are no longer the South Africa of 1994. Our country has changed. And parties have also changed – some for the better, and some for the worst. I am extremely proud of the DA’s growth over the past 25 years. We went from a small party to an opposition party, and then a party of government…In this time we also changed to reflect the incredible diversity of our country,” he said.
In a broadside against President Cyril Ramaphosa, Maimane said a five-year term would be “more of the same” of the Zuma administration.
“Cyril Ramaphosa is no saviour… This is a man who has taken no action against those in his party responsible for the Esidimeni deaths. This is a man who called on the police to take action against mineworkers striking for a living wage. The next day 34 of them were killed. This is a man who watched the looting of Eskom and Prasa, while he was tasked with fixing these institutions. Cyril Ramaphosa is no saviour,” Maimane said.
“If you vote for that guy you are voting for corruption and a merger with those other people [the Economic Freedom Fighters].”
Maimane has asked voters for just one chance. And if the party has not performed in government, then voters can vote them out in 2024.
“This is not a popularity contest. It’s not a pageant. This about competence. I’m not asking you to marry me, I’m merely asking you to employ a government with a proven track record. If I dishonour this contract, then you have every right to walk away from it. Then you have every right to fire the DA. But let us first prove to you that we can do this job,”
While this is Maimane’s final rally speech before next week’s polls, the DA still plans a “whistle-stop” tour to take their message to voters, particularly in the Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Gauteng.
Read the full speech here: