Cape Town - 120828 - The DA is hosted an On the Couch interactive discussion with DA Leader Helen Zille, COPE President Mosiuoa Lekota and DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko themed South Africa at the Crossroads at the District Six Museum in Cape Town. Reporter: Sibusiso Nkomo Picture: David Ritchie

Opposition parties needed to attain power in order to change the direction of the country and the Marikana massacre was a warning that the executive was failing in its duties, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said on Tuesday night.

He was speaking during the DA’s On the Couch talk, alongside Premier Helen Zille, at the District Six Museum’s Homecoming Centre.

Hosted by Lindiwe Mazibuko, the party’s parliamentary caucus leader, the theme of the evening was “SA at the crossroads” and its political future.

Zille said unemployment, poor education and threats to the constitution would be the biggest concerns.

“If we don’t have the rule of law and strong institutions, we won’t have education and opportunity to deal with unemployment,” she said.

“We need to make it easier to create businesses in a properly regulated environment.”

Asked about the deaths at Lonmin’s Marikana mine, Lekota said part of the problem went back to when President Jacob Zuma announced that the police would cease to be a service but become a force after winning the ANC presidency.

“Fikile Mbalula [later] announced that the police would become a paramilitary force and then [former national police commissioner] Bheki Cele said they should shoot to kill. There was not one word to repudiate from the head of the executive [Zuma] and it is dangerous.”

Zille said there would be a massive realignment in politics over the next few years, in which those who believed in the constitution would come together.

Lekota added he was extremely proud of the constitution and was determined to defend it.

“We should invest in education and training and not the Lotto system called RDP.

“If each family had trained children, they would do something for themselves, have the means to build and educate. It would give people a way out of the mud of poverty.”

Zille said the ANC’s tripartite alliance base was crumbling and Marikana and the ANC Youth League’s protests in Cape Town were a symptom of an internal power struggle in the ANC.

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Cape Argus