The Democratic Alliance (DA) held its final rally ahead of the South Africa 2014 election set for May 7 and made a final call for voters to use this time for a change. The DA held their final campaign in Johannesburg, and leader Helen Zille said her party was the only hope of positive change.
The crowds were in a festive mood, singing, dancing and waving the DA flags in the air. A song titled Zuma Thupa e etla (the whip is coming) was sung by the crowds for President Jacob Zuma.
The African National Congress (ANC) party, according to Zille, has become arrogant and believes the masses will continue to vote for them. Making a final push ahead of the elections, Zille told the lively crowds that the ANC are in for a nasty surprise on Wednesday. Throwing the punches at Zuma, Zille said his leadership had produced higher levels of unemployment, and that living conditions have deteriorated because the ANC leaders believe they will reign forever. Zille said that in contrast to former president Mandela and Mbeki, both of whom steered the country toward economic growth and development, Zuma had failed dismally. Zuma and the ANC, she said, had forgotten about the voters who gave them the power to govern.
The crowds cheered the DA leader and appeared to enthusiastically agree with Zille’s principals concerns. Her promise to deliver better services, eradicate corruption in both the public and private sector, create jobs and promote economic development received an enthusiastic response.
The DA party won an overwhelming victory in the local elections during 2009, and has a generally accepted record of good governance in the Western Cape. The party is hoping that their record of governance will be a factor voters recall positively when casting their vote on May 7 as they look to gain a victory. The DA are trying to promote an image which points to what they feel is a strong history of effective leadership that they claim can work for all people of South Africa. They are striving to present a balanced image, not to be perceived as biased in any way, in order to appeal to the broadest voter base.
While the rally might be over, the people have not stopped commenting on the meeting and have expressed mixed views. Many, from their reactions, believe the assertions of the DA that the Zuma government has failed its people, and have begun to call for the downfall of the ANC. Zille’s comments about Zuma’s last five years of leadership angered many and the Nkandla scandal continues to be mentioned in order to fuel that anger.
Crime, corruption, service deliveries and inequality are all crucial concerns for many South Africans, and the DA are hoping to gain the support of those who believe that the power of the ANC must stop to achieve progress.The DA continues to point toward their history of governance, highlighting what they feel is a solid history of creating job opportunities, better service deliveries and of fighting inequality. The DA party has received a warm reception as they advance their platform calling for profound changes.
Many continue to raise the issue of apartheid issue, and say that FW De Klerk, PW Botha and Verwoerd were all criminals who defiled the country, maintaining Mandela as a hero. and raising the argument that the ANC is the only party that will give the black citizens the promise of a better future. This group of loyal ANC supporters claim that the DA won the provincial election of the Western Cape during 2009 because there were more white people living in that region at that time, and have attempted to draw battle lines along racial lines.
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters did their best to convey their message, claiming that Julius Malema was the only way forward. Based on the DA’s final rally, the public showed more support for the ANC and DA than the EFF. Malema, however, is unlikely to go down without a struggle.
All parties are now making a last call for voters to turn South Africa into a strong and successful country, according to their vision of that reality. Each believes they will triumph, claiming overwhelming support from the voters. The South Africa 2014 election focus on the DA’s final rally has highlighted the mandate, even in advance of the election, for changes. Even should the ANC remain in power, this election will be a vote of confidence in the party, or lack thereof, and give the clear indication who the voters of South Africa feel likely to make the changes being called for. On May 7, South Africans will decide for themselves.
By Laura Oneale