DA challenges ANC candidates to public debates

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Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane listens as party leader Helen Zille announced her resignation from the election race before the party's 2015 congress during a party briefing on Sunday, 15 April 2015 in Johannesburg.

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DURBAN – The Democratic Alliance on Sunday again challenged the African National Congress to public debates between their respective mayoral candidates in the 3 August local government elections.

“The DA again challenges the ANC’s mayoral candidates to a debate as soon as possible so that [President Jacob] Zuma’s pals can allow themselves to be scrutinised openly,” DA leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters at a press conference on the outcomes of the DA federal council meeting held in Durban on Saturday.

Maimane said the announcement of the ANC’s mayoral candidates – delayed for over six months by Zuma – presented “the predictable”, as they were “a conglomeration of Zuma’s pals who will focus on benefitting the ANC-connected elite at the expense of the poor”. The ANC’s mayoral candidates were incapable of bringing the change necessary to move the country forward.

“They offer more of the same – more corruption, deteriorating service delivery, and increasing joblessness. The only job they care about is that of Jacob Zuma,” Maimane said.

The ANC’s candidates were not the best but rather put forward to serve a faction in the patronage war within the ANC. On the other hand, the DA’s goals were to stop corruption, deliver services, and ensure job creation.

“South Africa needs to take stock. We are facing a really big choice with this significant election. Do we want the same old thing or real change?” he asked.

The DA&39;s previous election best in 2011 was getting just above 23 percent of the votes and winning the Cape Town Metro was its biggest achievement.

“We&39;ve wanted to go out and make the offer clear to South Africans. The Democratic Alliance this year will have a candidate in every ward in South Africa for the first time in its history.”

He says the ANC has been weakened by internal fighting that&39;s led to the violent protests in Tshwane and has questioned President Jacob Zuma&39;s silence.

“The DA condemns ANC co-ordinated violence in Tshwane following the imposition of Zuma’s friend [Tshwane mayoral candidate] Thoko Didiza. This factional war demonstrates yet again just how much the ANC has changed,” Maimane said.

The ANC was at war with itself and putting the lives of people in danger. The governing party should be ashamed of the way it had allowed, and responded to, the serious situation in Tshwane.

“While people have died and public property destroyed, the president has not said a single word. This is not a man who can be trusted by South Africans to look after their best interests.”

Maimane called on Zuma to take a leaf out of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s book after citizens voted in a referendum on Thursday to leave the European Union, which Cameron campaigned against.

“Cameron did the honourable thing and resigned. If you have lost the mandate of the people you must step aside. Jacob Zuma has lost the mandate of the people and should do the same thing,” Maimane said.

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