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Cape Town - Next year’s elections could be a case of “it’s not inside, it’s on top”, if the latest political accessories are anything to go by.
Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have become known for their red berets, but on Saturday it was DA leader Helen Zille’s blue one that got tongues wagging.
The beret has long been worn by a motley crew of revolutionaries, aunties, intellectuals, beatniks, military men and Frenchmen.
Che Guevara was famously pictured wearing one. Pablo Picasso was partial to them. The US special forces wear green ones. The UN peacekeepers wear blue.
Zille, in Mitchells Plain for the launch of her party’s campaign to encourage voters to register, stepped on stage in a blue beret with “DA” embroidered on it.
At one point she told the crowd “we should all get berets”. She then picked out those in the crowd wearing berets and, pointing at one woman, declared: “Yours is a halaal beret.”
She then asked the crowd: “Did you see (pop star) Rihanna in the newspapers this week? She was wearing blue lipstick. She knows how to get ahead of fashion. We should all get blue lipstick. Die hele wereld word blou (the whole world is becoming blue).”
She was, however, at pains to point out that the DA promotional videos shown at the event were not “blue movies”.
Zille and party leaders Ivan Meyer, Lindiwe Mazibuko and Yusuf Cassim encouraged the crowd of about 1 000 people to register to vote. Meyer, leader of the DA in the Western Cape, said the party was looking to take 30 percent of the national vote next year, retain the Western Cape and win Gauteng and the Northern Cape.
In the Western Cape, the party was aiming to secure 60.4 percent of the vote, nearly 10 percent more than the 51 percent it scored in 2009. Meyer said it would be doing this by targeting black voters, going door-to-door and through his Masisebenze programme, which was targeting jobs and working.
“We will win or lose the election this year because registration is this year. In 2009, we won the Western Cape because we won the registration in 2008,” Zille said.
Most of the speakers also highlighted how the Western Cape had come out on top in the management performance assessment report released by the Presidency last week.
“You choose a government every five years. But the actions of your government… have an effect that lasts much longer. The education your children receive, the healthcare of your family members, these things affect lifetimes,” Mazibuko said.