DA leader Mmusi Maimane. File photo: ANA

Ekhuruleni - South African voters must know that in the African National Congress and Economic Freedom Fighters "alliance they get a party that believes the state must own and control everything, that believes in racial division and racial mobilisation, and that will support and hide each other’s corruption", Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

Speaking at the launch of the DA's Gauteng East election campaign in Germiston, Ekurhuleni, he said that with the ANC and EFF's adoption in parliament on Thursday of a recommendation that section 25 of the Constitution be amended to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation, "they were voting for the same corrupt patronage system perfected in municipalities, but on a massive scale".

"If this plan goes ahead, the ANC will have rigged the economy in favour of those with political connections, effectively locking the rest of the people out. All the power to decide who gets access to land and who doesn’t will rest in the hands of the very people who perfected the evil of patronage politics," Maimane said.

"We’ve seen what happens when parties grab hold of this kind of power. We’ve seen it north of our border in Zimbabwe and we’ve seen it across the Atlantic in Venezuela. Claiming to act on behalf of the poor, these power hungry governments destroyed their countries and caused millions to flee to neighbouring countries to escape the crushing poverty that followed."

This was what they voted for in parliament on Thursday. The ANC did not do this on their own. It was not even their plan. It was hatched by the EFF – a party with "absolutely no idea how to grow the economy and create jobs, and absolutely no concern for the people whose lives they destroy"

A year ago the ANC wanted little to do with this plan, but today they were inseparable from the EFF. They had outsourced their entire policy on land to a violent, radical fringe party with barely six percent of the vote, he said.

"What we’re seeing developing between the ANC and the EFF is a realignment of politics. These two parties, that started out as opponents, have now coalesced around certain principles and certain behaviours. They have coalesced around nationalisation, whether this is of land, the reserve bank, or healthcare. They have coalesced around race and racial nationalism, creating a society of 'us' vs 'them'. And they have coalesced around corruption – for the EFF it was VBS [Mutual Bank] and for Ramaphosa and the ANC it was Bosasa, but it’s the same thing.

"It is good that their coalition is out in the open, because the people must know what a party stands for and what they get when they make their cross next to that party. They must know that in the ANC/EFF alliance they get a party that believes the state must own and control everything, a party that believes in racial division and racial mobilisation, and a party that will support and hide each other’s corruption," Maimane said.

In the DA, on the other hand, the people would get a party that placed citizens, as individuals, at the centre, that believed in cherishing and protecting the Constitution, that believed in a market-based economy, that stood for non-racialism, and that did not tolerate corruption in any shape or form. That was the distinction.

South Africa could not carry on down the road to a divided country. "We cannot give in to the populists whose only reason for being in power is to amass more power. South Africa deserves much more than that. If we want to turn our country around – if we want to breathe life into our economy and create jobs for the almost 10 million South Africans who can’t find work – then all of us are going to have to work together. One nation pursuing one common goal.

In the past year, the DA-run Western Cape created more jobs than the other eight ANC-run provinces combined. "That’s the DA difference. And that’s what we can do here in Gauteng too if enough people turn their backs on the destructive populism of the ANC/EFF alliance and give the DA a chance. We don’t need a constitutional amendment to restore land to the people. We only need the political will to do so. Our Constitution already allows for effective land reform. Section 25 of the Constitution is far more than just a defence of existing property rights. It is also a mechanism through which the disempowered and the landless can be economically empowered through property ownership. Destroying this section of the Constitution will destroy economic empowerment," Maimane said.

African News Agency (ANA)