“You are often told that ‘we are moving South Africa forward’. Forward to what? To unemployment, poverty and nyaope?” Maimane asked at a youth day rally in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
“Where are the jobs, President Zuma? While we are struggling here, it is all pleasurable in Nkandla. Their cattle eat KFC.”
He said the money spent on the Nkandla upgrades should have been used to construct school classrooms with technology.
“If you are 18 today, your chances of finding work are getting less and less under the current government. A job is a first step out of poverty. It is a step towards freedom.
“This week President Zuma will be delivering his state-of-the-nation address. I want him to tell us where the jobs will come from. I challenge President to stop hiding in his house with a golden toilet and explain what happened at Nkandla,” said Maimane.
He said the DA spoke on behalf of the unemployed citizens. Like the generation of 1976, young people needed to be courageous and confront the government about its failures, Maimane said.
“Do not tell us that you are moving young people forward. Young people are struggling with maths and science. Sometimes even the teachers are struggling with those subjects,” he said.
“If the teachers are struggling, what do you expect from the pupils? In Africa, our maths and science results are worse than many African states but we spend more money in education.”
He said the ANC-led government was misleading South Africans regarding the state of education.
Hundreds of DA supporters streamed into a community park in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria for the annual commemorations.
The supporters in blue Democratic Alliance regalia braved the scorching sun, using placards to shield themselves.
Some of placards at the event read: “Free higher education” and “1 million internships”.
Many of the people in the crowd were wearing different school uniforms.
Monday marks South Africa’s 38th anniversary of the 1976 Soweto uprisings.
On 16 June 1976, a group of schoolchildren set off from Morris Isaacson High School in Orlando, Soweto, to protest over Afrikaans being the medium of instruction, among other grievances against the apartheid government.
There was a stand-off with police, who opened fire on the children. The township was sealed off and attacks on government buildings followed, as well as the flight of many youths and political leaders into exile.
This day is now celebrated as youth day.