DA leader Mmusi Maimane
Matjhabeng – The culture of corruption has become part of the African National Congress and cannot be corrected, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Saturday.

Speaking at a public meeting in Matjhabeng in the Free State, as part of his national #Change19 tour, Maimane said he believed everyone agreed on the need for change.

“I think we can all agree we need to change. Our country is heading the wrong way and soon it may be too late to turn around. We have stopped making progress as a nation. We are no longer marching towards economic freedom for all.

“Communities like yours here in Matjhabeng are fast being forgotten by a government that promised to take you forward but has no intention of honouring that promise. And here in the Free State you suffer under the double threat of a national ANC government under Jacob Zuma and a provincial ANC government under [premier] Ace Magashule.

“Because these two men are the same. The promises they make to their rich friends, the Guptas, mean far more than the promises they make to you before elections,” Maimane said.

“There has been a lot of talk recently about whether the ANC will kick Jacob Zuma out and replace him with someone else. I assure you, this will make no difference at all to the ANC. The culture of corruption – of stealing money that was meant for communities like yours – is part of the ANC now. It cannot be corrected,” he said.

Replacing Zuma with someone else would just increase the people’s suffering. Similarly, replacing Magashule with another ANC leader in the Free State would not change the way it governed. It would only change the name of “the person handing out the contracts and tenders to friends and family”.

“When I talk about change on this tour, I mean total change. I mean a whole new way of looking at South Africa. I’m talking about a South Africa that has entered its second struggle era – this time the struggle for economic freedom for all. The struggle to escape the economic oppression of ANC rule.

“I’m talking about a South Africa in which all of us have a say in how this country of ours must be rebuilt – what it should look like and how we can all benefit from it. I’m talking about a South Africa built on tolerance and respect for each other… where violence against women is not tolerated. Where we stand up, as one, against anyone who thinks they have the right to treat women as their possession,” Maimane said.

“I’m talking about a South Africa that is no longer the rape and murder capital of the world; where children don’t disappear every day and where our streets and our neighbourhoods belong to the people who live there once more. A South Africa where the leaders set the examples for others to follow. Where law and order starts at the top… a South Africa that works. That creates jobs in every town and every city and that invests in educating and training our youth to fill these jobs.

“I’m talking about a South Africa free from the ANC. We have to start thinking and talking about our future without the ANC. Because only then can we start to move forward. It’s no use to see ourselves as only DA, only ANC, or only EFF, and everyone else as our enemies. We need to start thinking beyond these divides. We need to start seeing those who want to build the same South Africa as we do as our allies.

“A new government that rescues our country from the ANC will have to be built on coalitions and co-operation. This is how we are busy turning metros like Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay around, and this is how we will turn South Africa around.

“We need to think differently and we need to vote differently. And the only people who can make this happen are you, the voters. You have the power to shape your future,” Maimane said.