Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says his party has broken racial barriers.
Addressing party supporters at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Missionville, Port Elizabeth, Maimane says the party has grown beyond colour and class.
Nelson Mandela Bay is in one of the most contested metros in the country and Maimane says he’s confident that mayoral candidate, Athol Trollip, will win the August 3 elections.
Outlining his party’s achievements, Maimane says while the DA was in the past known as a party for a certain group of people, it has managed to grow beyond racial and class boundaries making it the most integrated party in the country.
“They said a few years ago that the DA would never grow. They said the DA has hit the ceiling; it must only represent one race. What they cannot believe is that when we walk in communities, people say the DA is our home. It is our future.”
This is unlike the African National Congress (ANC), he says, which mobilises according to race: “We are not here to bring a black government or a white government but a DA government. And that DA government is not against any race, it is a government for all South Africans.”
DA mayoral candidate Athol Trollip was not to be outdone. Addressing the crowds in Xhosa and English, Trollip seemed to have established a rapport with the crowds who are rooting for him to take up the mantle come August.
“We are moving forward, we are moving toward a united, non-racial South Africa that wants everybody to be prosperous. We want everybody to be independent, not more dependent. We want to end the hard times under Zuma.”
Trollip seemed to be well-versed with the issues affecting the locals. “All our poor communities on this side of the N2 want decent schools, churches and sports facilities- not basketball courts. Nobody plays basketball here; some crony in the ANC (African National Congress) got the contract to build the court and all the fencing is gone, the club house does not have doors or toilets. We have had enough,” he says.
The controversy around whether the DA can use the Nelson Mandela name has not dissuaded Maimane from using it. He even went further to quote other ANC stalwarts such as Chris Hani, Oliver Tambo and Steve Biko.
Judging from the crowd, the DA appeared to have built a strong support base in the metro.
Youth unemployment is high in the metro, and some are hoping the DA can help create jobs.
“I am so tired of hearing promises. I want to see this promise, I want to actually experience it for myself and that is why I am voting for the DA,” says one attendee.
Another adds, “I am going to vote for the DA because they are the only party that can bring opportunities, jobs and better service delivery for our people.”
The DA will wrap up its national campaign with an election rally in Johannesburg next weekend.
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