DA leader Mmusi Maimane addresses members of the media in Ntuzuma, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane/ANA
Durban - DA leader Mmusi Maimane says the newly elected ANC leadership cannot be trusted with rooting out corruption as they supported looting under President Jacob Zuma.

“It is shocking that the ANC say they have elected leaders who will make a difference. Where were these people when our country was being looted? How can they say they are better when they have been there and watched corruption take place?” he said.

Maimane was speaking at the party’s KwaZulu-Natal leg of the People’s Forum Tour in Ntuzuma, north of Durban. He cautioned residents about the "sudden" tough talk by ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa on corruption and state capture, saying the party had merely changed the bus driver but kept the same passengers.

“They supported everything when people plundered money at Eskom, in Free State, Mpumalanga and in government, and then Ramaphosa says he is deputy president, that means he knew everything and supported it,” Maimane claimed.

Referring to allegations that, of the R220.2 million the Free State government transferred to the Estina dairy project in Vrede in the Free State, only 1% was spent on actual farming, Maimane said the ANC had proved not to be serious about rooting out corruption, as some implicated individuals remained in government.

“The Estina Dairy Farm in Vrede was a devious, corrupt scheme thought up by those who represent the ANC, Ace Magashule, Mosebenzi Zwane and their fellow comrades, to steal public money to pay for a Gupta wedding in Sun City. How do you rob black people of money and give it to a racist, corrupt family and say you stand for all the people?” he asked.

Mineral Resources Minister Zwane was the Free State MEC for agriculture at the time, while ANC secretary-general Magashule is alleged to be one of the key facilitators behind the movement of millions from the province's government to fund the Gupta-linked project.

Maimane said that every day corrupt individuals remained in government was an insult to South Africans, and an obvious sign the ANC had forgotten about the people.

“These are thugs and crooks. They belong in prison, not government. But the ANC will not act because when you lock them up you will end up locking up half of the ANC,” he added.

He welcomed the decision by the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit to place the farm under its curatorship. He said this must lead to reclaiming the stolen money, returning it to the intended beneficiaries and legal accountability for Magashule and Zwane.

The Mercury