Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/Independent Media

Pietermaritzburg - Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip John Steenhuisen says regardless of whether Cyril Ramaphosa or Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma wins at the African National Congress' elective conference in December, there will be no change, as the rot had taken hold in the ruling party. 

He was speaking to DA supporters in Scottsville in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday night as the party mobilises votes ahead of the August 2 by-election. 

He told party members that winning Ward 32 would be the start of the vote of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma ahead of the motion of no confidence in Parliament next month. "Vote for the DA in the coming by-elections so that he will not have a bounce on his step," said Steenhuisen.

He told the party faithful that a victory in the by-election would also go a long way towards ensuring that the DA did well in the 2019 elections. "I want to make an undertaking tonight that we will bring the ANC below 50% in the 2019 elections," said Steenhuisen, who labelled the ambition as "Mission Critical".   

He dismissed suggestions that the ANC would change for the better once Zuma stepped down as party leader or state president. He told party members that current frontrunners, Dlamini Zuma and Ramaphosa would not bring any change as both were part of the factions in the ruling party.  

"We are glad that Cyril has finally found his voice and decided to speak out. The big question is where was he when things started to fall in the ruling party and spilled over to government?"  

The DA chief whip told party members that once the DA took hold of national government, state institutions such as the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the police would be allowed to function properly and not be led by individuals loyal to the ruling party, which in turn compromised the safety of citizens.

According to Steenhuisen, Zuma had ensured that a party that was once lauded as a liberation movement had been reduced to a multi-billion rand criminal network. 

The ward 32 councillor position became vacant when Uraisha Haswell (DA) resigned over a month ago, prompting the by-election.