Zille calls for takeover of three ANC provinces

PLANNING AHEAD: DA leader Helen Zille addresses her party in Polokwane, Limpopo. PHOTO: CHESTER MAKANA
PLANNING AHEAD: DA leader Helen Zille addresses her party in Polokwane, Limpopo. PHOTO: CHESTER MAKANA

DEMOCRATIC Alliance leader Helen Zille has called on party members to work hard to take over the "collapsing government" before it is too late to repair the damage.

She blames the ruling party for failing to create job opportunities and build a sustainable economy despite having rich resources.

Zille said the ANC leaders have become more concerned about themselves than the needs of the majority of people, who are living below the breadline.

"That party is celebrating its centenary this year, and it is blinded by the celebrations and fails to understand that it has entered an anti-clockwise boat, went down ... down and down bleeding," she told delegates at the DA's provincial conference in Polokwane on Saturday.

She said the emergence of President Jacob Zuma to power in the 2009 ANC Polokwane conference has come at a huge cost to South Africans, and has also destroyed the credibility of state security agencies.

"In fact, they did not go there to elect leadership, they did not want leadership ... they were after lack of leadership," she said. "The ANC is defocused, it shifted away from the politics of the people to internal fights for power and money."

Zille said that should serve as a lesson to her party as it elects its leaders, otherwise it was "doomed to repeat the ANC's mistakes".

She said the war between police chiefs is a clear sign that there is no focus on issues affecting people.

"When police are fighting, the country is overwhelmed by crime," she said.

The SAPS has recently been marred by one controversy after the other - the suspensions of police chief General Bheki Cele and intelligent boss Richard Mdluli, and allegations of mismanagement of funds by acting police boss Nhlahla Mkhwanazi.

Cele has since been fired.

The DA said failure to solve these problems indicates that the ANC is unable to save itself, and even caused the inevitable collapse of Limpopo finances.

She said the DA was ready to take over Gauteng, Northern Cape and Limpopo.

Zille said the DA was determined to take over Limpopo as people have become disillusioned with corruption and poor service delivery in the province. "We are very ambitious, in the last election one out of four voters voted for Democratic Alliance ... if we continue (like that) we will make it.

"Of course, it's a big stretch target ... but we don't want South Africa to be a complete failed state before we could start turning it around," said Zille.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko also used the conference to reiterate the call for party members to take over Limpopo. "Limpopo is a province deserving of our sympathy and is crying out for leadership. It is, by any reasonable definition, a collapsed province."

During the conference, Jack Smalle was elected to replace Desiree van der Walt as the party's new provincial leader.

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