Johannesburg - Politics should not focus on race but on issues, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

“Today what is happening is racial mobilisation,” DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane told a group of young South Africans in Milpark, Johannesburg.

“That is not the way to hold a democracy. It is about the issues, not your race.”

He was speaking in an election debate hosted by youth culture magazine Live.

The Economic Freedom Fighters, DA, Agang SA and the African National Congress were answering questions from young people throughout the country submitted online, and from those present at the debate.

The ANC Youth League's head of organising Mawethu Rune responded by saying the DA was a party for the white elite. He said the DA represented segments of society that wanted the “current status quo to remain”.

“Class has a colour, poverty has a colour. Empowerment is not reverse racism.”

Agang SA's chief operations officer Andrew Gasnolar said inequalities in society needed to be addressed.

“Race is used as a tool, instead of acknowledging that we are South Africans first.”

He said structures in the economy and education needed to be changed.

The EFF's Gauteng premier candidate Dali Mpofu said the inequality in the country was a result of its past.

“The only way to redress that is to make sure that wealth is owned by the state.”

He said redress through hard work would only widen inequality.

“The state is the only organisation that represents all people.”

Sapa