Newsdeck: DA marches against ANC’s ‘murderous’ 24-year reign

With a few months till South Africans head for the polls for national elections, hundreds of Democratic Alliance supporters marched through the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday against what the party said was a ‘murderous’ 24 years of poor reign of governance of the ANC.

DA protesters unveiled a billboard depicting what they claimed was the human cost of the ANC’s leadership of the country.

The protesters focused on four key areas:

  1. People who have died as a result of crime;

  2. Miners shot in Marikana in August 2012 during a strike;

  3. Patients who died in the Life Esidimeni tragedy, and

  4. Children who died in pit toilets.

The march was attended by hundreds of DA supporters wearing blue shirts and a number of DA leaders, among them party leader Mmusi Maimane, Gauteng DA Premier Candidate Solly Msimanga, Gauteng leader John Moodey, DA Federal Youth leader Luyolo Mphithi, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom, Chief Whip John Steenhuisen, National Spokesperson Refiloe Nt’sekhe, and Federal Deputy Chair Natasha Mazzone.

DA supporters broke into song as they waited for leaders to join in the protest. The supporters carried placards with faces of the ANC’s Top Six leaders.

Bloom said: “The ANC is killing our people and there needs to be accountability. Nobody has appeared in court for Esidimeni. Barney Selebano, who was head of the department, can still practise as a doctor. Makgabo Manamela, who was the director for mental health, can still practise as a nurse. There was no intention to seek the 21 psychiatric patients from Esidimeni who are still missing.”

Bloom said the Esidimeni tragedy was not over.

The 21 missing patients are probably also dead now. All we are saying is that the ANC is killing our people...”

He claimed Gauteng Premier David Makhura had lied when he said he did not know the patients were taken to illegal and ill-equipped NGOs to die.

When Daily Maverick asked DA premiership candidate Solly Msimang what he would say to people who say the party is campaigning on the ANC’s weaknesses instead of focusing on their own policies, Msimang said:

We need to provide an alternative to the people of this country. We are talking about corruption and lack of accountability which continues to affect our people. Our campaign is about providing an alternative to the corrupt ANC.”

As DA supporters made their way down Pixley Same Street towards Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters, a truck carrying the party’s sound equipment surged along in front with the words “The ANC IS KILLING US.” Below was written, “In memory of those who’ve fallen victim to crime, Marikana, Life Esidimeni and pit toilet tragedies”.

We are marching to mourn the lives of our people killed because of the ANC ... We are fed up with it. We will find the ANC wherever they are hiding and we will hold them accountable even if they prevent us from marching past Luthuli House,” DA Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme said. “We are here to tell the ANC that we will hold them to account for all the lives of our dead people who have died in their hands.”

There was concern among the DA as word went round that the ANC had prevented them from marching past Luthuli House. The crowd of DA supporters avoided marching past Luthuli House, finding a different way around.

The DA’s billboard was unveiled on a street running alongside the Nelson Mandela Bridge, the message clearly visible from a distance.

On the billboard were names which the party said were those of the people killed as a result of the ANC’s failures, including those who have died as a result of crime, those who were killed by police in Marikana, the names of the patients who died in the Esidimeni tragedy, and names of children who died in pit toilets, such as Michael Komape.

The names on the billboard are a representation of the people who have died. This ANC government doesn’t care about fighting crime because this year they will spend R2.6-billion on VIP protection. The ANC doesn’t care about crime. The DA is here to take the fight to criminals. We care about the protection of citizens and not the elite,” DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said.

Moodey said the party had sought permission from the families of the people whose names are on the billboard.

The anti-ANC rhetoric continued, with Luyolo Mphithi, DA General Youth Leader saying: “We have been failed by the ANC as young people. We are tired of waiting on street corners without jobs. We cannot rest when our young people are unemployed. We say to the ANC, where are the jobs that they promised?”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane reminded supporters of the South Africa that was envisaged post-apartheid and how that was a pipe dream.

Four out of 10 South Africans have no jobs. Children are dying in pit toilets. We need a better South Africa for our people,” Maimane said.

David Makhura has blood on his hands. He killed the people of Esidimeni. The ANC is killing us ... the children dying in pit toilets, the people killed in Marikana, the Esidimeni people deaths.”

The party encouraged its supporters, particularly young people, to register to vote in the national elections.

An elderly woman from Randfontein said she was a member of the ANC but left the party after her RDP house was sold and she had to rent a shack in a back yard.

Isn’t it obvious why I'm here,” the woman responded when asked about her presence in the march. “It’s the ANC’s corruption,” she said.

Commenting on the march the ANC said the DA had become irrelevant.

These antics have exposed DA bankruptcy in their politics and levels of desperation as the party is struggling to remain relevant. The DA politics have become so toxic and it’s strategy of fearmongering and fear factor won’t bring them any votes,” Zizi Kodwam ANC acting spokesperson, said.

Kodwa said the recent survey report by Ipsos and other citizen surveys show a party that is under the ocean and sinking deeper.

Added Kodwa: “Our successful manifesto launch that took place in Durban shows a continued overwhelming faith our people have in the ANC and its plans to grow SA. According to the DA, the apartheid regime was better than a democratic dispensation where all people enjoy equal rights. To invoke the names of the departed and tragedies won’t win DA any votes.” DM