"Let me tell you this, if you are racist, this is not your home. The racists must go. Who are the people starting the racism in South Africa? You know that when we marched against [President] Jacob Zuma, he said it was only the white people marching against him," Maimane told the crowd of mainly DA supporters protesting at the Limpopo Provincial Treasury in central Polokwane.
"We are here today. It is not black people, it is not white people, it's not coloured people, it's not Indian people but it is South Africans standing together, saying Jacob Zuma must go."
Maimane said nobody could divide South Africans on the basis of race or religion. "We always say, the dream of Nelson Mandela for a non-racial South Africa will always stand tall. United we shall stand, divided we will fall," said Maimane.
He told the crowd that Zuma believes he is above the Constitution but will have a rude awakening.
"I heard him [Zuma] saying if the people of South Africa or the ANC says I must go, I will go. I have news for Jacob Zuma. He thinks he is going to retire in Nkandla [Zuma's rural home in KwaZulu-Natal]. I am saying to him, you are going to retire in Sun City prison. A maximum prison. Tsotsi must not retire. Tsotsi must go to jail," Maimane said to cheers from the crowd.
He said secrecy was not the priority in voting during the impending Parliament's motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma.
"People say to us we must vote in secret. I stand here proudly and say my vote is not my secret. I will still stand up on the day and say this person [Zuma] is a tsotsi. Jacob Zuma must go, and I will vote for him to go in that motion of no confidence. Why do we ask honourable people to do things underground? We must move forward, do things for the people of South Africa."
The opposition leader said he believes that there are still "good people" within the ANC. At the same event, Maimane also told journalists that said the wave of protests demanding Zuma to step down, led by opposition parties and civil society, is going to be intensified.
“If the ANC does not take note of the message from South Africans standing together for their country, it will realise that it has lost the leadership of society. These marches are crucial,” said Maimane.
“We are going to intensify our actions. We’re not backing down. We’re going to intensify our action right across the country. Ultimately, South Africans must know that this is our country. It is not Jacob Zuma’s country. He was elected to serve the country, now he is serving himself. So we will continue.”
The Limpopo Provincial Treasury was guarded numerous police officers. A few Freedom Front Plus and a few Economic Freedom Fighters members joined the protest.
A statement released by Maimane’s spokesperson Mabine Seabe said the protest was being held in Polokwane because the province was evident to massive corruption bedevilling South Africa.
“Jacob Zuma and the ANC have normalised the abuse of the people’s money and institutions for self-benefit, while neglecting their duty to create jobs and build a better South Africa,” said Seabe. “There is no better case study than the province of Limpopo – corrupted to the point of near bankruptcy, and economically stagnant.”