DA leader Mmusi Maimane says violent protest will not bring a change in governent but a vote on May 8 is the power to remove a government. Photo: ANA/Stringer

RUSTENBURG - Burning tyres and waging violent protests will not bring a change in government, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said on Monday.

He told a sea of blue in Sunrise Park near Rustenburg during his election campaign in the North West that people were protesting in the hope of bringing change to the government.

"People are toyi-toyi, they are toyi-toying for criminals," Maimane said.

"On May 8, please wake up, ask your neighbour, ask your wife or husband to go and vote. Use the power you have to remove the government. Burning tyres will not bring change."

His comment coincided with a wave of protests in the DA-led coalition municipalities in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

In the City of Johannesburg, residents of Alexandra took to the street complaining about mushrooming of shacks and poor service delivery, a few days later protests erupted in Tshwane and major roads were barricaded. The Western Cape the only province controlled by the DA also experience protests.

"You can find evidence of this choice all around us. Right now, large parts of South Africa are reeling from so-called shutdown protests. We saw this in Alexandra in Johannesburg. We saw this in Tshwane. We saw violent protests in Khayelitsha. We saw marches in Midvaal," Maimane said.

"What do these places have in common? They are all governed by the DA. And behind all these actions you will find the hand of the ANC, trying its best to cause chaos and disorder in the run-up to the election. They are waging a poorly disguised campaign of ungovernability across multiple DA-run cities at once because they hope this will distract voters from their own failures." 

The DA intends to retain the control of the Western Cape and unseat the ANC in Gauteng and Northern Cape. 

The DA obtained 138,521 votes translating into 12.73% of the votes in North West.

DA provincial leader and the premier candidate said the party was confident of increasing its votes and they were looking to obtain at least 24% of votes in the May 8 general election.

Violet protests were also observed in ANC control municipalities.  In the Free State, Moqhaka municipal vehicles were torched and one was damaged during a protest. There were protests also in Bekkersdal.

In Rustenburg residents of informal settlement along the R510 road barricaded the road with burning tyres and rocks.

Despite Maimane telling his supporters that a DA-led government would sell Eskom and South African Airwings (SAA) and used the money to increase social grants, African People's Convention (APC) leader Themba Godi asked who was going to benefit from the sale.

"Selling SAA and Eskom will benefit the rich,"  Godi said.

He was speaking to APC members in Motlhabe outside North West, the rural village is the home of the APC in North West and has produced an APC councillor Thulani Mathibe in the Moses Kotane municipality.

Godi said Whites and Indians benefited from the gains of democracy compared to the African majority.

He explained that selling SAA and Eskom would put Whites and Indians in a better footing as they could afford to buy.

"The economic trajectory in the country has not been changed. The majority party has not been able to transform the economy, for the past 25 years the majority party has always sought to appease white people and what has happened is that it is the Indians in the main who have taken advantage of the democratic space to move up in the economic ladder," Maimane said.

"It is this two grouping which constitutes about ten percent of the population that has possibly benefited from this democracy." 

He said all the policies the majority party in South Africa, the ANC, has passed in the past 25 years has enhanced inequalities in the country, meaning that the poor African majority become poorer and the rich white community become richer, followed by the Indians community.

Godi who chairs the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) said in the 14-years he had been the chairman of the committee he was never accused of taking a cent.

He said this was a demonstration to the nation that APC members would not be involved in corruption activities.

APC promised to end corruption and transform the economy to benefit the majority of people, unlike the current state where minority benefit.

"Transforming the economy ensuring that we have jobs, ensuring that services come to our people timeously and qualitatively, is going to be one of the keys and the main focus of an APC government," Godi said.

Both the APC and DA said their members have not been accused of corruption, indicating that they were able to offer a corrupt free government.

Despite political party leaders crisscrossing the North West province, only Godi had gone to a rural village, Maimane and United Democratic Movement leader, Bantu Holomisa are the only two leaders who had gone to Marikana.

Maimane was in Marikana on April 12, and Holomisa held a rally on April 14.

African News Agency (ANA)