EFF leader Julius Malema is making the "crucial mistake of thinking many others share his racist views", said DA leader Mmusi Maimane. File picture: Mark Wessels/Reuters

Port Elizabeth - Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema is making the "crucial mistake of thinking many others share his racist views" and will soon find out that most people reject his "racist hatred", Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

Speaking in Port Elizabeth during the weekend's voter registration drive, Maimane said that when the DA entered into a coalition with smaller parties to govern Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) after the local government elections, it had been agreed by all that NMB could never "go back to the theft and the lawlessness of an ANC government".

"But now the EFF have said they will hand Nelson Mandela Bay back to the corrupt ANC, not because of poor governance or corruption or anything that this government did wrong. No, their reason for turning on the DA is pure racism. In the words of Julius Malema, it is 'because the mayor of DA in PE is a white man',” Maimane said.

Malema also said, "We are going to remove a mayor of PE. We are going for your white man in PE. We are going to cut the throat."

"Malema makes the crucial mistake of thinking many others share his racist views. He’ll soon find out just how wrong he is. Most people reject his racist hatred. Most people reject his threats of violence and his crude insults. We are certainly not intimidated by him.

"Neither mayor [Atholl] Trollip nor the DA will stand by and watch as the EFF launch their racist attacks. We reject this outright and we will stand together and fight. The EFF see government as merely seats so they can eat, but our view is that government is about and for the people. And that is why we will prevail," Maimane said.

"We will prevail because most people only care about getting ahead in life – about getting opportunities, and using these opportunities to make a better life for themselves and their families. They care about honesty and accountability, not racism and violence. The DA will prevail because we believe that our strength as a nation lies in our diversity. And we believe in the Constitution that protects and promotes this diversity. 'We, the people of South Africa, believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity'.

"Julius Malema will find that his threats to hand NMB back to the party that destroyed it will backfire on him. The people will punish him severely. The people of NMB don’t want the ANC back here.

"The people of this city – and particularly the young people who cannot find work – want a government that can help them get a foot on the jobs ladder. And one way to do so is through our internship programme for young jobseekers. This week’s by-election result here in Ward 1 is a sign of things to come – the DA is growing, the ANC is shrinking and the EFF is hardly worth mentioning," Maimane said.

African News Agency/ANA