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Pretoria - The African National Congress under President Jacob Zuma had moved away from the vision of its predecessors, the DA’s candidate for Gauteng premier, Mmusi Maimane, said on Tuesday.
“Instead of non-racialism, we are retreating back into the politics of division. Instead of reversing the legacy of apartheid, our people remain as impoverished as they ever were,” Maimane told a poorly attended student meeting at Tshwane University of Technology in Soshanguve, Pretoria.
He said the province needed to create jobs. “It starts with getting the basics of government right, stopping corruption and appointing the right people in the right places.”
Corruption meant economic opportunities were reserved for the connected few, Maimane said.
“We will always remain grateful for those who liberated us, but we cannot allow our choices for the future to be constrained by what happened in the past.”
Explaining the poor gathering, Maimane said attendance was by invitation only. He addressed the DA Student Organisation (Daso) on his personal political journey.
Committee members, however, chose to invite “loyal members” out of fear that Maimane might be prevented from entering the premises, said to be an ANC stronghold.
Daso said it sent text messages to about 900 students listed on its database. No posters were put up, nor were any handed out to promote Maimane’s address, according to acting deputy president Tshifhiwa Mbedzi.
“We were afraid they might try to block him like they did Mr Mantashe last week,” Mbedzi said of opposing political structures.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who was due to address the ANC Youth League last week, was given a “voetsek” reception by a handful of students.
“They made remarks, were singing and tried to block him from entering, but they did not succeed,” ANCYL spokesman Bandile Masuku said.
Jafta Mamadi, secretary of Daso, said the ANC was still the top dog on the campus and by far their biggest competitor. A former ANC member himself until last year, he said: “We are not using Maimane like ANC did with Mantashe.”
Only about 70 Daso supporters came to listen to Maimane’s address.