Many 'want DA to rule'
DA LEADER Helen Zille says an increasing number of South Africans want her party to be in control of national government.
Delivering an opening address to the DA federal congress in Boksburg, Zille said more South Africans were eager to have the DA as their governing party because the ANC was failing them.
"When I travel around the country, people say to me: Helen, please bring DA government here. I reply: you must bring DA government here. There are DA candidates in every election," she said.
Zille said the DA was well on its way to topple the ANC as a governing party in Gauteng in the next general election in 2014.
The DA leader was elected unopposed yesterday at the party's 5th federal congress.
About 1700 voting and non-voting delegates attended the federal congress, which increased by 500 from the previous congress in 2010.
The growth has been attributed to an increase in the DA membership.
Speaking ahead of Zille, Gauteng DA leader John Moodey said they were aiming to gain one million new votes in 2014 in order to mount a serious challenge to the ANC.
"We are not naïve, we recognise the challenges we face in obtaining one million new votes. But over the past few months we in Gauteng have launched a vigorous programme of continued and sustainable political activity in all the areas of new growth," Moodey said.
Citing a record of delivery in DA-run municipalities of Midvaal in Gauteng and Cape Town in the Western Cape, Zille said her party aimed to become a governing party in South Africa "so that everyone has freedom they can use to build a better life".
She also urged South Africans to stop voting on the basis of historical considerations, saying people needed to take ownership of their future.
"We respect the power of the past loyalties. We understand how much we owe to those who struggled for our freedom. We know how hard it will be to live up to their legacy. That is why we say: honour your past, but own your future."
Shangy Mbekwa, the DA delegate from the village of Mmakaunyane in North West, said she quit the ANC in 2000 after being disillusioned with the ruling party.
"They kept failing to deliver and when we ask they say everything is in the pipeline, how long is the pipeline," he said.
Another delegate, Sizwe Mnguni of Orange Farm in the south of Joburg, said he joined the DA after being let down by the ANC.
"I felt that it was time for change, the freedom that we are enjoying is having insiders and outsiders and I felt that is not fair because this democracy was fought for by all South Africans and for that reason I felt that the DA was giving us that kind of freedom," he said.
Ahead of Zille's address, DA die-hards clad in blue party shirts thronged the conference hall and chanted pro-Zille songs, calling her the future president. But a small group of supporters of outspoken MP Mazisole Mnqasela, who is challenging incumbent federal chairman Wilmot James, took a different line from other party members as they arrived in yellow T-shirts bearing his portrait.