DA leader Mmusi Maimane says that should the party receive below 25 percent at the polls, it would still be justified for him to continue as party leader. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA).

Johannesburg - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says that should the party receive anything below 25 percent at the polls after the May 8 general elections, it would still be undeniably justified for him to continue as the party leader.

Maimane was speaking on Radio 702’s Eusebius McKaiser Show on Tuesday morning when the talk show host asked him if he felt it would be justified to lead the official opposition if it amassed below 25 percent.

McKaiser told Maimane that the opposition should not get anything less than 30 percent at the polls and that if the DA got around 22 or 23 percent, he did not deserve to be the leader of the opposition given the stark realities of the South African society.

“Where I’m very comfortable is the fact that if we take Zimbabwe as an example, you would argue the case that in a collapsed economy the Zimbabweans, I feel, got duped by Zanu-PF.

“It replaced its own leader, people felt there was a renewal and subsequently Zimbabwe’s economy is on the collapse and I think South Africa faces a similar prospect in that you have this corrupt ANC - a bus that has veered off the road and has put you and I in debt and now has a new driver but still heading in the same direction,” Maimane said.   

He said that it was undeniable that given the country’s economic conditions, they had to fight off a populist instinct that could promise everyone everything for free or ultimately a resurgent ANC and table policies that give an indication of what South Africa must look like.

He said that the DA had a plan and agenda for reform in South Africa and when he had gone out to communities, South Africans were resonating with their message and that he was comfortable that the party would grow.

“One of the tough things that the DA has to fight for and contend for is that we live in a country where it is natural when economic conditions are like that, the racial polarisation is something that occurs.

“On one hand, you’ve got a party that says we’re just for whites and on the other you have a party that says we’re just for blacks and when stand up and still espouse that dream of one South Africa for all it has to break through all of that noise so South Africans come on board,” Maimane said. 

He said that he was confident of the party’s growth as they already govern over 16 million people with a budget of R170 billion. 

Political Bureau