Johannesburg - DA leader Mmusi Maimane has used the official opposition manifesto launch to condemn ANC’s track record as the country's governing party.
This comes as the DA is eyeing to dislodge the ANC in two provinces – Gauteng and Nothern Cape- in the upcoming general elections, scheduled for May.
Addressing party supporters at Rand Stadium, south of Johannesburg on Saturday, Maimane said the ANC-led government had made strides as a liberation movement in bringing hope to South Africans through building schools, roads, hospital and houses when it took over before leaders became greedy.
“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. The posters still said “a better life for all”, but what we were starting to see was a better life for some,” Maimane said.
Maimane accused the ANC of being riddled with corrupting and inability to run clean administrations, which he said made him change his mind about joining it.
He said DA governed well where it governed.
“In ten years the DA turned the Western Cape into the best-run province in South Africa. When the DA took over in the Western Cape in 2009, not one single government department had received a clean audit. Last year, the Western Cape got 83% clean audits,” he said.
Maimane said the DA was unapologetic about its position on the land issue, adding that the party would legally challenge the current plans to change the Constitution to enable expropriation of land without compensation.
“We don’t just oppose the amending of the Constitution for the sake of it. We want to ensure that Section 25 is protected. This matter will end up in court. We have shown we can deliver land reform within the Constitution. And where there is contestation we can settle compensation through our legal system, and not by politicians,” Maimane said.
Although the DA has its own shortcomings it never tells lies, he added.
''Yes, the DA sometimes makes mistakes, but we would never lie to you and we would never make promises we don’t intend to keep. I can promise you that if the DA is in government, [the] Life Esidimeni [tragedy] will never happen, and neither will state capture,'' Maimane told supporters.
''We wake up every morning animated by a need to deliver for our people. Our opponents can sit in the corner and call us names, but they can’t argue with facts. And these are the facts - more people find work where the DA governs because we know what it takes to create jobs.''
Maimane said his party wanted provinces to have more control over the police service.
''This will allow us to build stronger partnerships between metro and provincial police so that we can better fight crime. I also want a rural safety unit to make sure that all our citizens living on farms are protected.''
On the economy, the DA favoured a black economic empowerment model that ''truly empowers more citizens as owners of companies", he said.
''Let’s give shares to the people who work on our mines. Let's have a BEE model that transforms society and helps to build an inclusive economy in order to address the historical injustices committed against black South Africans.''
He further proposed an increase in the monthly child support grant, an energy secure country allowing independent power producers, and secure and controlled borders.
''Finally - and you can read much more about this in the manifesto - I want our country to function honestly and openly. The South Africa I want to build will have no place for corruption and corrupt politicians. If you are a corrupt politician you will spend at least 15 years in jail,'' Maimane said
The party wants a national voluntary civilian service for young people with no work experience and not studying at tertiary institutions, Maimane added.
"The DA believed that the state could play a role in providing the youth with work experience while they got paid a stipend."
''This will be offered to every matriculant who doesn't qualify for tertiary education. The opportunity to provide a service to the country, or his or her community, will be in return for a stipend and valuable work experience,'' Maimane said.
The youth service would be in the public service in departments such as the police, education, and healthcare. At the police service, youngsters would join officers on daily patrols.
''They will gain an understanding of the community while also receiving training to become certified police officers. This programme may need to run for two years before participants qualify. However, new people will be enrolled each year,'' Maimane said.
Political Bureau and African News Agency (ANA)