Johannesburg - Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane on Saturday laid into the African National Congress government, accusing President Cyril Ramaphosa of ''watching the looting'' for the past 25 years.
Addressing thousands of cheering supporters at the DA's final "Phetogo" rally at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg ahead of the May 8 national and provincial elections, Maimane said he was ''angry because leaders elected to lead us ended up stealing from us''.
''What’s most offensive is that they stole from the poor. They took money that was meant to make life liveable for our most vulnerable citizens, and stuck it in their pockets. The ANC were once the leaders in the struggle for freedom, but today they stand directly in the way of freedom for millions of South Africans.
"They were once a movement, but today they are a monument – a mere relic of the past. They were once our liberators, but today we need to be liberated from them. That is why I’m angry,'' he said.
''We are on borrowed time in this country, using borrowed money. But all things borrowed eventually run out. We will run out of diesel at the end of the elections, and the lights will go out. And we will certainly run out of money at a growth rate of just 0.8 percent. Life is getting hard for citizens. VAT is up, fuel is up, and the cost of living is going up. We are in deep trouble. We‘re beyond the point where we can say, 'your side of the boat is leaking'. All of us are now drowning.''
A buoyant Maimane said Ramaphosa was already in government when rampant corruption spread under the ANC and that it was time for South Africans to look into themselves and find something ''stronger than fear''.
''If South Africans had been driven by fear in the past, then apartheid would still be in place. But people were driven by hope instead, and so they showed courage and they opted for change. Our moment of courage is now.''
Maimane shrugged off polls that show that DA was battling to increase support ahead of May 8, saying his party went from a ''small party to an opposition party, and then a party of government''.
''I am extremely proud of the DA’s growth over the past 25 years. Growing from just 1.7 percent in 1994 to a party that governed four metros after the 2016 election has allowed us to touch the lives of millions of South Africans with our brand of clean, honest government. In this time we also changed to reflect the incredible diversity of our country.''
''The DA is bigger and stronger than ever before. We are more diverse than ever before. We govern in more places than ever before. We are united in our mission of building one South Africa for all,'' Maimane said.
African News Agency (ANA)