- Title: South African opposition leader says coalition will beat ANC in 2019.
- Date: 16th May 2017
- Summary: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VOTERS AT POLLING STATION DURING LOCAL ELECTIONS MAN CASTS BALLOT
- Embargoed: 30th May 2017 14:54
- Keywords: coalition 2019 elections ANC DA Zuma Mmusi Maimane South Africa
- Location: CAPE TOWN, PRETORIA AND JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- City: CAPE TOWN, PRETORIA AND JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0046H38DAV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), Mmusi Maimane says his party could win the 2019 election with the help of other parties.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has comfortably won every parliamentary election since it swept to power under Nelson Mandela at the end of apartheid in 1994.
But the party has become increasingly divided under President Jacob Zuma.
Most analysts put the chances of a DA-coalition victory in 2019 as low but believe it is achievable in 2024 if the ANC continues to disappoint its support base of poor, black South Africans.
"My stance has always been in 2019, there must be a DA-led coalition to replace the ANC. You see some projects might be about, don't assume that saving South Africa is about saving the ANC, saving South Africa is about the removal of the ANC," Maimane said in an interview.
The ANC is losing popularity under Zuma following a string of scandals and a failure to address slow economic growth, high unemployment and gaping inequality.
The DA hit a new high last year by taking control of three of the largest cities from the ANC in local elections as part of coalitions with the hard-left Economic Freedom Fighters and smaller opposition movements.
The results took many politicians and political analysts by surprise and opened a divide in the ANC ahead of a conference in December where it will choose Zuma's successor as party leader.
Zuma can stay on as South African president until 2019.
"The ANC is united around corruption. Zuma is not an isolation of the ANC - he's a collective thereof. Therefore, the people of this country must be aware that the project ultimately is about the removal of the ANC. And in 2019, there must be a coalition, DA-led coalition of governments as we've seen in the cities that will ultimately be able to say that the democratic advances have taken place," said Maimane.
Zuma has faced public protests calling for his resignation in the last month after he fired his fourth finance minister in less than two years, shaking investor confidence.
Zuma also faces a no-confidence vote in parliament this month following the cabinet reshuffle that the DA and some opponents in the ANC said was intended to insert loyalists who will prevent him from being removed.
The constitutional court is currently deciding on a secret ballot vote against Zuma proposed by opposition parties.
"It's not only the voice of political parties. It's the voice of all South Africans that says, 'we must see change'. And I'm not convinced â€¦ I am convinced that the starting point is Zuma but it can't be the finishing point. It must always be restoring South Africa to a constitutional democracy. So that any president, regardless of where they come from will always know that they are accountable to the constitution. But we must focus on the economic resuscitation of our country and reforms so that more people can find work. We must eradicate corruption in society because Zuma is not the only corrupt person - we must eradicate it from both public and private sector, so that all resources are given to the people," Maimane said.
The former preacher and the DA's first black leader has helped to broaden the party's appeal.
One of its biggest challenges is changing the perception that it is a party for the white-minority, an accusation the ANC promotes.
"The dream is always for a non-racial party and so when you're trying to bring black and white South Africans together, there will be some who say, 'no you are defending white people'. There will be some of those, because they fail to see the vision for a non-racial party," said Maimane.
The ANC won 62 percent of the vote in the 2014 national election, down from 66 percent in 2009. The DA increased its share to 22 percent, from 17 percent. If the ANC falls below 50 percent, the DA could rule under a coalition.
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