ON A WARPATH DA cel­e­brates JZ’s le­gal bat­tle

Blue congress comes out against ANC land pol­icy

The Sunday Independent - - Front Page - SIVIWE FEKETHA

THE DA has used its fed­eral congress to cel­e­brate its suc­cess­ful decade-long le­gal bat­tle for the re­in­state­ment of charges against for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, de­scrib­ing it as a demon­stra­tion of the party’s com­mit­ment to root­ing out cor­rup­tion.

The party is hold­ing its fed­eral congress in Tsh­wane where it is set to elect a new lead­er­ship today.

Party leader Mmusi Maimane said Zuma – who was on Fri­day in the dock in the Dur­ban High Court for 16 charges re­lat­ing to cor­rup­tion, fraud, money laun­der­ing and rack­e­teer­ing – would have to be forced to an­swer for his al­leged crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Maimane said var­i­ous lit­i­ga­tions by the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion helped se­cure free­doms and en­sure ac­count­abil­ity within the state.

“Ten years ago, we said we would not rest un­til Ja­cob Zuma was held ac­count­able for his crimes. For ten years, we bat­tled against him in ev­ery court, and we won.

“Yesterday his trial started. That is your vic­tory. It is not over yet, but it has fi­nally be­gun,” Maimane told del­e­gates to the congress.

The party is pur­su­ing an­other court ac­tion in a bid to force Zuma to re­turn the R15.3 mil­lion le­gal bill in­curred by the state in his fight against the re­in­state­ment of the Spy Tapes case.

Maimane slammed the ANC and the EFF for ad­vanc­ing racial pol­i­tics, call­ing on del­e­gates to re­ject those who la­belled the DA a white apartheid party and those who dis­missed him as a puppet.

“The truth is that I will never be black enough for them be­cause they don’t want black peo­ple to think for them­selves. They want black peo­ple to re­main trapped in the pol­i­tics of race be­cause this is what keeps the ANC in power.

“They are afraid of the new gen­er­a­tion of black South Africans who think dif­fer­ently to them and want to choose their own fu­tures,” Maimane said.

Maimane was today set to be re-elected un­con­tested for the sec­ond term as party leader, and one of his ma­jor tasks would be to lead the DA’s cam­paign to wres­tle con­trol of Gaut­eng from the ANC in the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion.

Yesterday, the party re­solved on an ar­ray of am­bi­tious pol­icy res­o­lu­tion on jobs, ed­u­ca­tion, the econ­omy and land, which the party said it would im­ple­ment should it be in the gov­ern­ment.

On jobs, the party has re­solved on the in­tro­duc­tion of R150 a month Job­seek­ers’ Al­lowance for un­em­ployed young peo­ple aged 18-34 and re­ward­ing com­pa­nies with broad­based black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment points and cor­po­rate tax cuts should they in­crease their staff com­po­nents.

On land, the party re­solved to re­ject the amend­ment of sec­tion 25 of the con­sti­tu­tion in a bid to pro­tect prop­erty rights of in­di­vid­u­als.

The ANC, the EFF and a num­ber of po­lit­i­cal par­ties have thrown their weight be­hind the re­cently adopted par­lia­men­tary mo­tion to ex­pro­pri­ate land with­out com­pen­sa­tion to help ad­vance land re­form.

The move, which has pit­ted the EFF against the DA, was also adopted as a res­o­lu­tion by the ANC at its na­tional elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber. The DA has in­stead re­solved to “not al­low land re­form to be used as a di­vi­sive and racially charged light­en­ing con­duc­tor to pull public at­ten­tion from fail­ures of gov­ern­ment by ac­tively cor­rect­ing the un­truths meant to achieve this end”. The party has in­stead com­mit­ted it­self to de­velop and im­ple­ment land re­form poli­cies that ex­tended prop­erty own­er­ship, at­tracted in­vest­ment, cre­ated jobs in the form of win-win part­ners and helped heal the di­vi­sions of the past. The party al­most reached a dead­lock on min­i­mum wage, as a large sec­tion of the del­e­gates ob­jected to the party’s Job Seek­ers Ex­emp­tion Cer­tifi­cate where job seek­ers must agree to be em­ployed and paid be­low the R3 500 na­tional min­i­mum wage for two years.

While the pro­posal was even­tu­ally passed as a pol­icy res­o­lu­tion, some del­e­gates com­plained that it was aimed at do­ing away with the na­tional min­i­mum wage through the back door.

Today, the party is elect­ing a new lead­er­ship, where Tsh­wane mayor Solly Msi­manga and Nel­son Man­dela Bay mayor Athol Trol­lip are the main con­tenders for the fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive chair­per­son post, which is oc­cu­pied by Trol­lip.

PIC­TURE: THOBILE MATHONSI/AFRICAN NEWS

TALK­ING TOUGH: DA leader Mmusi Maimane de­liv­ered his open­ing ad­dress at the DA’s fed­eral congress held at the Tsh­wane Events Cen­tre. Re­fer­ring to for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s le­gal bat­tle, Maimane said var­i­ous lit­i­ga­tions by his party helped se­cure...

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