17 August 2017

South Africa: Maimane Wants Change, and He Wants It Now

Photo: allafrica.com
Left: Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane. Right: President Jacob Zuma.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane urged South Africans to imagine a post-ANC South Africa.

A "new beginning", "change" and a "fresh start" was Maimane's refrain in what resembled a campaign speech delivered to the Cape Town Press Club in the plush, colonial dining hall of the Kelvin Grove Club, where the mostly wealthy, white, aged audience ate lunch and quaffed chilled white wine before Maimane spoke.

Maimane didn't dwell on the #GuptaLeaks and the ANC's failings, seemingly only mentioning it to bring him to his main point.

A new beginning

"What is clear is that we need a new beginning," he said. "The Constitution allows us to make a fresh start."

And so he introduced the motion to dissolve Parliament which the DA tabled last week. If successful, this motion would necessitate an early election. The motion seems doomed, though, as the other opposition parties seem unlikely to support it, and the ANC railed against it.

Maimane said that this motion is not a call for regime change, but a call to allow South Africans to exercise their vote.

He mentioned that the UDM and EFF previously called for an early election, even though they don't support it now.

"The call for an early election is still crucial," said Maimane.

As he did last week, he also denied that the motion would serve as a rallying point for the ANC.

'Smallanyana skeletons'

"The ANC is already united behind 'smallanyana' skeletons," he said.

He said the DA has a job to do, which is to be a voice for the people.

Maimane said he also understands that change in a country is a difficult process.

"We have to put this matter to a test."

He noted that it is not the DA's job to worry about divisions in other parties.

"We must do what is right, we must use the Constitution, we must win this debate," he said.

Maimane said there must be a move away from a nationalist agenda. "I'm calling for a change to move to a place where individuals are empowered and protected."

He added that the only way to build a new South Africa is to start afresh. "We need to make a transition from liberation politics to coalition politics."

This requires millions of South Africans to re-imagine the country, said Maimane.

"We need change, we need it now."


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