You can tell this guy used to be a preacher: With all the fire and brimstone we’re used to seeing from the pulpit, Mmusi Maimane delivered an impassioned speech in Dobsonville on Saturday, urging voters to choose the DA “whether they like the party or not”.
DA election rally draws thousands
As far as election tactics go, this is a certified interest-generator. Maimane has ditched the desire to be loved and is instead imploring South Africans to think with cold, hard pragmatism. He told the thousands of attendees in Johannesburg that a general election “shouldn’t be a popularity contest”, and people must trust the DA’s record in government.
“@MYANC have elected a leader who wants you to believe he has just arrived in time to save us.
He was there all along!
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) May 4, 2019
Maimane, in bullish mood, waxed lyrical about the achievements his party had made in Cape Town, Tshwane and the Western Cape province. He singled out the DA’s policy on property rights as one of their better accomplishments, boasting about the amount of “landowners” their local governments had created.
“You don’t have to like us to vote for us” – Mmusi Maimane
The DA leader then attempted to seek a deal with his detractors. He asked South Africans to “give them five years” to prove what the party can do. He made it very clear that “popularity” wasn’t on his radar, and that he only wants to be judged on how the DA can govern:
“I’m asking you to lend us your vote for the next five years. That’s it. Five years at a time. When we reach the end of this period, judge us. See if we did the things we said we’d do. If so, then lend us your vote again for another five years.”
“But if we didn’t – if it turns out we broke our promises to you – then fire us again. This is not a popularity contest. It’s not a pageant. This about competence. I’m not asking you to marry me, I’m merely asking you to employ a government with a proven track record.”
The Mmusi Maimane voter contract
Maimane then went on to propose a “voter contract” – a set of promises he has made to the electorate, of which the public can hold the DA to account if they fail to achieve their targets at a national level:
- End corruption, introduce 15-year jail sentences for offenders.
- Take growth above 1.5% and create “millions of jobs.
- Slash the cabinet size in half.
- Reform SAPS and improve training programmes for new recruits.
- Improve the general standards of education.
The chances of a DA government
By 2024, Mmusi Maimane is adamant that a DA government could achieve all of the above. He’s so confident, he even gave voters permission “to fire him” should he fall short of these high standards.
With the latest polls placing the DA between 20 – 25% of the vote, the likelihood of them getting a chance to govern the country from Wednesday onwards is small. But with the opposition making gains in Gauteng and looking set to hold the Western Cape, Maimane and co are odds-on to get another chance to prove themselves.