DA leader Mmusi Maimane has hit back at President Jacob Zuma, saying his desperate racial mobilising campaign would not work.
Addressing the DA’s rally to mark the 10-day countdown to the local government elections in Missionvale township outside Port Elizabeth today, Maimane said the ANC had no plan for Nelson Mandela Bay.
“Which is why we now see Jacob Zuma telling South Africans they should vote ANC simply because they are black,” Maimane said.
“Not because they want jobs or better services or a corruption-free government. No, he wants people to vote for the ANC because of the colour of their skin.
“That is how far this ANC has fallen. That is how far the ANC of today has drifted from the party of Madiba.”
He said the ANC would find out on the morning of August 4 that they were now the second-biggest party in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“The DA is growing here in Nelson Mandela Bay. We are getting bigger and stronger in every community. In fact, we have already overtaken the ANC in the metro,” he told supporters.
There was a time when a DA election rally like this would have been an unthinkable thing in Nelson Mandela Bay. There was a time when DA gatherings there were small and their voices quiet, he said.
“I mean, this is the Eastern Cape – the heartland of the ANC. Or rather, this was the heartland of the ANC, back when the party had a heart. Because the ANC today has nothing in common with the ANC of yesterday – the party of Nelson Mandela, of Walter Sisulu, and of Oliver Tambo.
“It will be a fitting gesture for the DA to win this metro, which is named after Madiba, because we are the only party that stands for his values of unity, the rule of law, and building an inclusive economy. We care for the people of South Africa. We care about the future of South Africa. [President Jacob] Zuma and the ANC only care about themselves,” Maimane said.
“What’s left of the ANC of today is a collection of corrupt individuals, fighting over the last scraps before the party finally implodes. They can’t agree on anything anymore.”
Nelson Mandela Bay should be so much more. The city had everything going for it – harbours, railways, an airport, a huge industrial development zone, and wind farms. It had a proud history of motor manufacturing and one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world.
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“And it has over a million people who deserve better. People who aren’t afraid to get stuck in and work. All that is holding Nelson Mandela Bay back is its government. All that is standing between this city and prosperity is a local government that only ever makes the headlines for its many scandals. When it comes to waste and corruption, this ANC government here in Nelson Mandela Bay is the worst metro government in South Africa,” he said.
In the past financial year the city lost almost half a billion rand to fruitless and wasteful spending – more than any other city in the country.
“When a government can’t protect your money, it can’t protect you. Every cent this ANC government lost to corruption was meant to be spent in your communities.
“Tell this ANC your vote is not only powerful, it’s also precious. Tell them it cannot be bought cheaply. Go out and use your vote to bring an honest, clean government to Nelson Mandela Bay that can create jobs, and that is committed to delivering services to all its people. Use your vote to hire a DA government, knowing that you can use that same vote to fire us again if we disappoint you. But first give us a chance.
“Give the DA a chance here, the way the people of Cape Town gave us a chance back in 2006. We will bring change to Nelson Mandela Bay. Change that creates jobs. Change that stops corruption. Change that delivers better services,” Maimane said.
The Zuma taunts
His comments come after Zuma lashed out at the DA yesterday, labelling it the offspring of the National Party.
Zuma told scores of ANC supporters at the party’s “Eastern Cape Siyanqoba” rally at the Dan Qeqe Stadium in the Zwide township outside Port Elizabeth that the DA mentioned the ANC every chance it could.
“That is the same tactic used by the National Party,” Zuma said on Saturday. “They can’t believe that a black person can run this country.
“They don’t have any plan; every time they open their mouth they talk about Nkandla, corruption and Zuma. They don’t have anything else to say,” he added.
Zuma said he was “grinding” the opposition party. “There is no speaker who is going to say ‘order’,” Zuma said, amid applause from ANC supporters who had braved the cold and wet weather.
He went as far as calling Maimane a puppet, saying white people never attended his rallies.
“I am talking the truth now,” Zuma said. “If you are to leave us and go to the DA, that means you are going backward, as we are going forward. Don’t ever make the mistake of going back. The ANC liberated us.”
Zuma, speaking off the cuff, said ANC ancestors would turn in their graves if the DA won the hotly contested Nelson Mandela Bay metro.
The metro is the most hotly contested area and a key battlefield in the August 3 local government elections. Maimane said the DA was only party that stood for the man the metro was named after, as Mandela’s values included unity and the rule of law.