East London - Former Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip has said the African National Congress (ANC) was not equipped to develop the economy because of its embrace of communist principles.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) federal chairperson made the statement during a provincial rally at the East London Orient Theatre on Thursday.
The South African economy would never prosper under the governing party because its economic cluster consisted of ministers committed to communism, which the rest of the world was moving away from, said Trollip, who spoke in both English and Xhosa.
He also took the opportunity to swipe at president Cyril Ramaphosa, saying the president's reaction to many revelations was to say he was "shocked", as if he hadn't been in the country for the past 25 years.
"Cyril always gets shocked. He travelled by train to Pretoria but when it jammed after 30 minutes of the ride, he said he was shocked. When he hears the [revelations] that come out of the Zondo Commission, again he says he is shocked, like he didn't know this was happening. Then he goes to Alexandra to sow divisions between the DA and [residents], when he sees the place, he says 'I'm shocked to see how dirty this area is'".
Trollip cautioned voters against seeing Ramaphosa as a messiah, reminding them that he was deputy president for many years.
"Why would you vote for him as a president when he's been the deputy president when all the things he now says are shocking were happening under his watch? It's like he was not in South Africa, it's like he is a visitor here," said Trollip.
Sharing his opinion on the South African Communist Party (SACP), Trollip called them "parasites".
"For the last five years, SACP have been there with ANC, like a parasite that sucks the cow where it hurts the most, but today the SACP is putting up posters calling for voters to turn South Africa around," said Trollip.
And, he said, until the country dealt decisively with crime, it would be difficult to attract foreign investment. The police were underpaid, lacking in resources and were not inspired by their superiors.
"Those that are in charge are rotten, starting with [police minister] Bheki Cele, his generals and others. We need to do something about it. We also need to do something about our borders because you cannot allow people to come in and out of the country [as they please]," said Trollip.
Speaking during the same rally, the DA's candidate for premier of the Eastern Cape, Nqaba Banga, urged voters to give the party an opportunity to change the country.
"Our message is clear: Only a DA government can build one South Africa for all by fighting corruption, establishing an honest and professional police service, creating fair access to jobs, securing our borders and speeding up basic service delivery" said Banga.
The party also welcomed 50 former Congress of the People (COPE) members to its ranks at the event.