"Twenty-three years later, it's time to take back our power from a government that no longer works for us. Because today it doesn't feel like there is much to celebrate," Maimane said.
"We are free to work, but nine million of our sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters have no jobs." Maimane was speaking at the DA's Workers' Day rally at the Bluedowns Stadium in Cape Town.
He was joined by the Western Cape acting provincial leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela. The leader of the official opposition said millions more stood to lose jobs if Zuma had his way. Maimane said Zuma had turned government into "a crime syndicate" and National Treasury into his personal "piggy bank".
"Jacob Zuma’s lying, stealing, cheating government is wrong. It is no longer playing by the fair rules of the game, and it is taking South Africa in the wrong direction. It is crippling our economy and hurting our ability to create work for millions," Maimane said.
"Jacob Zuma talks about radical economic transformation, but what he means is radical re-enrichment of a small elite, including his friends, the Guptas. Our economy doesn’t need Jacob Zuma’s radical transformation. It needs a complete modernisation, because our old economic practices simply aren’t working."
Maimane said the country needed those without capital to be able to enter the capital market and to place small businesses at the centre of the economy and support them through a capable state.
He said the people were not the problem, but it was the government that was making it very hard for people to succeed.
"When you have a government that works for everyone, you get an economy in which everyone works. When the government works for everyone, young people leave school equipped with the skills they need to get ahead in life," Maimane said.
"When the government works for everyone, it builds the water, electricity, transport and communications infrastructure necessary for businesses to grow and thrive. It puts it best, brightest, most capable and experienced people into its cabinet."