DA kicks off #Change tour to take 2019

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The DA’s Mmusi Maimane has called on all op­po­si­tion par­ties to band to­gether with the in­ten­tion to re­move the ANC from power in the 2019 na­tional elec­tions.

The ral­ly­ing call for the op­po­si­tion to work along­side civil so­ci­ety and all South Africans was made at the launch of the DA’s #Change 19 Tour, which kicked off in At­teridgeville yes­ter­day.

The coun­try­wide tour marks the be­gin­ning of what will be a three-year long cam­paign, where the party will look to bag at least one more prov­ince.

Speak­ing to about 200 peo­ple yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Maimane an­nounced he would be trav­el­ling to all prov­inces, and he called on South Africans to join the “change move­ment”.

Maimane re­peat­edly said talks were un­der way with op­po­si­tion par­ties who sup­ported the DA’s bid to re­move the gov­ern­ing ANC.

“I am even speak­ing to other po­lit­i­cal par­ties who are say­ing, ‘Maimane, we saw that we are work­ing to­gether in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, so we want to work to­gether na­tion­ally.’ They are com­ing with us. That is the fu­ture of South Africa,” the party leader told the crowd.

Speak­ing on the side­lines of the ad­dress, Maimane said coali­tions in the ma­jor met­ros had set the tone for 2019.

“Al­ready, we have a coali­tion frame­work that has been ca­pac­i­tated to en­sure that we gov­ern well for all the peo­ple. We are say­ing we will be go­ing to­wards meet­ing [peo­ple] and say­ing, what are the other pol­icy frame­works we need to be study­ing? Re­mem­ber it is not just par­ties in Par­lia­ment, there are par­ties out­side of Par­lia­ment as well.”

This was in ref­er­ence to a coali­tion agree­ment be­tween the DA, United Demo­cratic Move­ment, Free­dom Front Plus, Congress of the Peo­ple and the African Chris­tian Demo­cratic Party fol­low­ing last year’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. Through the coali­tion agree­ment, the DA added the met­ros of Nel­son Man­dela Bay, the city of Tsh­wane and Johannesburg to the op­po­si­tion.

The Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) opted not to be a part of the coali­tion, but chose to give its votes in coun­cil to op­po­si­tion par­ties.

Maimane would, how­ever, not be drawn on the pos­si­bil­ity of a na­tional coali­tion as yet, say­ing: “No, let me talk about Change 19 at this point. It is a move­ment of those who want change in SA, [and] that must be the fo­cus.”

He ad­mit­ted the sig­nif­i­cance of launch­ing in Gaut­eng was sym­bolic, fol­low­ing the wins in the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

How­ever, hav­ing grown only marginally at the polls last year, the DA must con­vince more vot­ers in town­ships and ru­ral ar­eas – strongholds of the ANC – that what it of­fers is the bet­ter op­tion.

An­other ma­jor point of de­bate ahead of the 2019 polls is the is­sue of land. In re­cent weeks, the DA re­jected an EFF-raised mo­tion in Par­lia­ment to amend the Con­sti­tu­tion to al­low for ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion.

Maimane told his sup­port­ers yes­ter­day he wanted farm work­ers to have a share in the land which they worked on, and that land could no longer be re­served for those who sat at Luthuli House. “We want BEE that works for all of us, not just Baleka Mbete. “There were peo­ple who used to say they would die for a leader. Can I tell you what I will die for? I will die for this coun­try. I will die for SA. South Africa must be­come a free coun­try for all of us, un­til then our work is not done,” Maimane said, tak­ing a dig at EFF leader Julius Malema.

“If you op­pose cor­rup­tion you will come with us. If you de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion, come with us. If you stand for South Africans, black, white, In­dian and coloured, come with us,” he said.

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