DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: @Our_DA

Johannesburg - The scale of corruption in South Africa has affected millions of people, stealing their dignity and future as citizens, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

Presenting the DA's 2019 elections manifesto at the Rand Stadium south of Johannesburg, Maimane said when the governing African National Congress was led by former president Nelson Mandela its government built schools, hospitals, and roads, and connected communities to the electricity grid and to clean water.

The post-Mandela era was riddled with corruption as the liberators forgot about South Africans, he said.

''Those early days of our democracy felt great. We were a country that was overcoming its brutal past and [we] were set for a better future, together. One South Africa for all... but then something happened, something that altered our course,'' Maimane said to cheering supporters gathered at the stadium.

''Our leaders lost sight of our goal. They realised they could make money off every job, every contract, and every purchase that involved the government. Those who started out as liberators had ended up looting from the people they liberated. And they were looting the arms deal, Bosasa, and VBS [Mutual Bank] while millions didn’t have money to get by... corruption has stolen the dignity and the future of millions of our people.''

Maimane said he had spoken to ''more and more people'' who told him they had been forced to ''accept the hard truth'' that things would not change under the ANC government, because the governing party would not change.

African News Agency/ANA