Maimane tells Zuma: lead or step downComment on this story
Parliament - DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane on Wednesday challenged President Jacob Zuma to provide stronger leadership or step down.
"Bold leadership is the difference between more and more of the same, or real and meaningful progress," Maimane said in his response to Zuma's budget vote speech.
He portrayed Zuma as beholden to the policy demands of allies and punctuated his speech with the refrain: "Mr President: Lead or step aside..."
Maimane said Zuma would have to take difficult decisions to set South Africa on the path to prosperity and equality, including standing against Cosatu and the SA Communist Party in support of the National Development Plan (NDP).
"Mr President, without bold leadership, the NDP is being stalled by these enemies, and those who didn't even stand for election - the alliance partners of the ANC."
He added: "To lead is to take one's cues from this Parliament, not the 'parliament' that is Luthuli House... When the honourable president fails to lead, but is rather simply a political captive being led, then it is time to step aside."
Maimane said South Africa had to choose what kind of country it wanted to be by 2019, and said Zuma's budget pointed to "more of the same", which he listed as 34 percent unemployment, widening unemployment and deepening poverty.
He urged Zuma to attend to five issues urgently.
The president should support democratic institutions, such as the public protector, set an example against corruption, refuse to sign labour bills that threaten jobs, stand up to unions leading long strikes, and tackle youth unemployment.
On corruption, Maimane again urged Zuma, as he did in his maiden speech in Parliament in June, to respond urgently to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings that he benefited unduly from the R246 million publicly funded upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.
"The people of South Africa who elected us to this House must know the truth on Nkandla, for until then, the cloud of improper financial benefit hangs over the head of our president," he said.
Maimane also urged Zuma to fire the contested SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel retorted in his speech in the presidency's budget debate that Zuma was leading the country to economic transformation and Maimane's calls for leadership meant "dividing the ruling alliance".