Durban - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has condemned violence and language used by some leaders to incite intimidation ahead of the August 3 municipal elections.
“We condemn all acts of violence that are taking place. Even this particular province has seen an increase in the number of attacks. South Africa cannot change government through the barrel of gun or any violence,” Maimane said at a media briefing after the federal council meeting in Durban on Sunday.
He made the comments in the wake of violence that took place in parts of the country, especially in KZN and Gauteng, where some people died and public property was damaged.
EFF leader Julius Malema recently warned in a television interview that his party was prepared to take up arms against the government.
In a veiled attack on Malema, Maimane also condemned those that leaders who used language to incite violence.
“We believe that, without fail, our best option is to have democratic transition as expressed in the ballot box,” he said. “It is incumbent on all of us leaders, whatever political frame, to stand shoulder to shoulder. We must call on all parties to respect the rule of law and participate in these elections freely and fairly,” he said.
He also raised concern at the eruption of ethnic mobilisation in the rejection of Thoko Didiza as Tshwane mayoral candidate because of her Zulu origin.
“It is a dangerous ploy in South Africa when we start to distinguish one another not only on the colour of the skin, but cultures we come from.
“The beauty of this country is that we are a diverse nation that can stand together to build a united and prosperous South Africa,” Maimane said.
He presented his party and the ANC as the only choices the voters could choose from.
“The choice framed on August 3 is ANC factionalism and patronage distribution, and the DA’s offer of a free, fair and open South Africa that opens up opportunities for all,” he said. “There is patronage war going on inside the ANC. Mayoral candidates are appointed to serve the leader (Zuma) and not the people.”
Maimane claimed his party had “strong” prospects of becoming government in Nelson Mandela, Tshwane and Ekurhileni metros, as well as retaining the City of Cape Town.
The party is fielding candidates in all wards and hopes to deploy party agents in the about 22 000 voting stations on voting day.