DA leader Mmusi Maimame addresses the media after casting his ballot at the Presbyterian Church of Africa in Dobsonville, Soweto. Picture: SEBABATSO MOSAMO/SUNDAY TIMES
DA leader Mmusi Maimame addresses the media after casting his ballot at the Presbyterian Church of Africa in Dobsonville, Soweto. Picture: SEBABATSO MOSAMO/SUNDAY TIMES

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says a vote on Wednesday should be about competence and not loyalty.

“It’s about building a government for all, black, white, Christian, Muslim, all South Africans. This is about that,” Maimane said on Wednesday shortly after casting his vote. 

Maimane voted at the Presbyterian Church in Dobsonville in Soweto. The DA, which was the official opposition party following the 2014 general elections, hopes to grow its share of the national vote and in the Western Cape, as well as become the biggest party in Gauteng and the Northern Cape. 

“This is a test, not about loyalty. I see people today, they must wear whatever shirt they so choose to. This vote is about competence. This vote is about saying let Mmusi Maimane run the country so that we can take it forward,” he told journalists on the steps of the church after he had voted. 

He had pointed to the DA’s track record, including its governing of the Western Cape and the metros of Johannesburg and Tshwane in Gauteng, to illustrate this competence. 

He said the past 25 years had a great start, but “a dreadful finish”. 

SA’s democracy turned 25 year in 2019 and Wednesday marks the sixth general election since all South Africans were awarded the right to vote after the fall of apartheid.

Maimane said an opportunity has been missed to address the historical injustices of the past and to include those who had been excluded. 

Maimane was flanked by the DA’s premier candidate in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga. 

Asked if he had succeeded in transforming the image of the DA, which has been described as a “white party”, Maimane said these elections would show that the DA was the only party that could grow in all areas. 

“We are the only party which will grow in Sandton as we do in Alex,” Maimane said. 

He said the story of the election will be the growth of the DA under the black electorate. 

ANC Gauteng chair and premier David Makhura said he is confident that the governing party will not have to resort to coalitions, saying they do not work anyway.

A recent poll by the SA Institute of Race Relations (IRR) found that Gauteng is set to be hung, barring a last-minute surge from the ANC. On a turnout model of 71.1%, the ANC in Gauteng would get 41% and the DA 33%.

The same poll found that the ANC is expected to drop its majority in KwaZulu-Natal, its biggest province and stronghold. With a turnout of 71.1%, the IRR found that the ANC was expected to drop to 48%. 

Makhura, who cast his vote at a voting station in Centurion on Wednesday, said Gauteng residents would definitely give the ANC another mandate to continue with its service delivery programme and clean governance.

“I am very confident the people of our country and here in Gauteng will give the ANC an overwhelming mandate,” he said.

“I’ve got no doubt about it that we will get a mandate to transform this industrial hub of our country, to double the number of jobs that we have created, and to continue on our path of clean governance. We have a record of clean governance in Gauteng.”

He said residents told the ANC that they wanted it to continue on its new trajectory under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“They know the ANC is very serious in acting against corruption and malfeasance. The ANC is acting against state capture, we are taking action,” said Makhura.

He said coalitions involved “compromising, to bring people to work with, where you don’t have shared values and visions”.

“Sometimes you must appoint people because you are nursing the feelings of your coalition partner, appointing even wrong people,” he said.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba last week vowed to resign if the DA entered into any coalition with the ANC after the elections.

Mashaba is the mayor of the municipality with the biggest budget and has had to keep together a minority coalition government with the help of the EFF.

“I will never work with the ANC. If the DA or anyone else would work with the ANC, I would resign yesterday,” Mashaba said at the time.

Makhura said on Wednesday: “We want a very decisive and clear mandate from residents of our province to continue making life better for millions of residents in this province.”

He said that from Centurion he will accompany Ramaphosa to his voting station in Soweto.

Makhura said he will be moving around the province to ensure that the elections run well.

“I will not rest until 9pm,” he said.

Voting stations opened at 7am and close at 9pm.