12 December 2018

South Africa: DA Is Not Losing Support, Maimane Says in Response to Recent Poll

Photo: Democratic Alliance
Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's official opposition party.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane already has plans in mind, should he become president.

"We need a clean government that fights corruption at every level, and sends those found guilty to jail for 15 years, and a police service that is well trained, well equipped and staffed by motivated individuals, so that South Africans can take back their streets and their neighbourhoods from criminals," he said on Wednesday.

Maimane was speaking to staff members at the DA's headquarters in Bruma, Johannesburg, where he urged them to not take seriously the recent poll results from the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), which suggested the party's support had declined to 18% from 23% in September.

Maimane said that, as far as he was concerned, his "party has grown, and that is evident from results of by-elections held across the country since the previous elections".

"We are now nearing election time, and if we will have more polls coming through, and if we take them too seriously, we may lose focus," Maimane said.

The DA leader also reflected on the year, labelling it a difficult one for the party.

"We have had a lot of challenges, from the Nelson Mandela Bay coalition government that failed, to the Cape Town Patricia De Lille saga, but we have come out of those challenges stronger," he told the DA workers.

Maimane said the move to remove De Lille's mayoral chains was necessary, adding that the party "had no interest in sweeping corruption under the carpet".

He said that De Lille's new political party Good did not scare the DA, and would not take any voters away from them.

"She joins a list of political parties that we compete with, and those who want change will know who to vote for," he said.

De Lille resigned from her position as Cape Town mayor in October after a protracted dispute with the DA, where she claimed she had been "abused".

"The DA is not struggling with its identity post the Jacob Zuma era. That is all a myth and, as a matter of fact, we are more focused on issues that matter," Maimane said.

Looking ahead, he said he would be interested in working with any political party which would not deviate from "agreed principles", and would not threaten to vote against his party when there was a disagreement during a debate.

"Healthy debates are necessary for the advancement of our economy, and furthermore the rights of the people we represent.

"In Nelson Mandela Bay, we fought hard to keep the new ANC/EFF/UDM coalition of corruption away from the metro's budget and contracts. Our setback there is temporary. I assure you, NMB will have a DA government again," he added.

Maimane said that, in Johannesburg and Tshwane, the party continued to face daily challenges in keeping the "fragile coalitions and cooperation agreements intact".

"But our mayors have done an outstanding job in these cities to dramatically improve service delivery and clean up the mess left by the ANC," he said.

On the issue of land expropriation without compensation, Maimane reiterated the party's stance, saying people should be given title deeds, and not have government own the land.

"Why would we want to follow the footsteps of Venezuela and Zimbabwe in being failed states? We should be wary and focus on dealing with the land issue the right way".

The DA leader also spoke against the way inwhich Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) was structured, saying it only served those who were connected to people in government, and not small and medium enterprises.

He however, did not offer an alternative, adding that his party would never "deal in corrupt deeds".

Maimane gave his party an "above average" rating, and said that he was looking forward to the elections.

Source: News24

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