Mmusi Maimane. Picture: SOWETAN
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: SOWETAN

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has disputed polls indicating a dramatic fall-off in support for his party, saying that internal polls show that it will do better than the 22% of votes won in the 2014 elections.

Maimane addressed a media conference on Sunday on the outcome of the three day meeting of the DA federal council, the party's highest decision making body between congresses.

The council unanimously adopted the DA's election manifesto which will be officially launched on February 23 at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg.

“It is an Ipsos poll that says the DA will get 14%. It has been consistently inaccurate. Our internal polling indicates that our support is higher than that of 2014,” Maimane said.

Maimane also did not believe that the ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa would increase its support significantly.

He said the DA was aiming to win Gauteng, Western Cape and Northern Cape, and increase its support nationally.

"With 87 days to election day, the party is united, focused, and equipped to deliver our strongest campaign in history," Maimane said.

The federal executive has vetted the candidate lists of all nine provinces and has sent them back to structures for appeals where necessary. The focus was on competence and diversity. The lists will be made available at the end of February .

Maimane said the DA’s election manifesto centred around “a solid plan with workable solutions to fix our economy”.

“On the matter of redress and empowerment, the manifesto is clear: we believe race is a proxy for disadvantage and an accurate reflection of who is still excluded from opportunity,” Maimane said. “The party has not decided to move away from race-based redress policies, however we unequivocally reject the ANC’s version of redress which operates to enrich and re-enrich the connected elite. Our offer is truly broad-based in that it seeks to break down the wall that exists been the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.”

He said “one SA for all” could not be built when citizens who “by circumstances of their birth and the history of this country” are left out of the economy. 

“We are unapologetic. Those citizens are black South Africans. So when we say race is a proxy for disadvantage we don’t mean that it is principle whereby you want to take from some to benefit others but so that you can create a citizenship where all citizens have equity in the economy and ultimately we can address historical injustices. That view was unanimously adopted by federal council.”

The DA's view was that if two professionals, one white and one black,  were being considered for a job and were of equal competence, the black person should be chosen.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za