Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
19 May 2021
4:21 pm

Turns out Cyril’s not a mini-me after all, says Maimane

Siyanda Ndlovu

'Citizens started to believe that president Ramaphosa was looking to clean up the state, many citizens gave their vote to that.'

One South Africa movement leader Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Neil McCartney

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane says the DA lost support in the 2019 elections because people thought President Cyril Ramaphosa was the ANC’s version of him (Maimane) in the DA.

Maimane was speaking to CNN on Wednesday about the importance of electoral reform for South Africa’s democracy.

He was asked why the DA lost votes during the national elections under his leadership despite him being a charismatic and vocal young leader.

Maimane said that it was an unfair troll to conclude he dropped the ball as the leader.

“The first place to recognise is that in the local government elections the DA, when I was the leader of the party, gained control of many of the big city metros in South Africa,” Maimane said.

“We were in government in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and the capital city itself.”

Maimane said under his leadership the party created a space where people were beginning to occupy that non-racial centre where all citizens can work.

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He said that changed suddenly after Ramaphiosa assumed the office of the presidency following the removal of Jacob Zuma  as people thought Ramaphosa was the ANC’s version of himself (Maimane).

And three years later it’s become obvious at close range that he is not.

“The 2019 election was a fairly unique election in that post-removal of Jacob Zuma citizens started to believe that president Ramaphosa who came in as a very populist president, the president who was looking to clean up the state, many citizens gave the vote to that.”

“Over a long period of time as you have seen in the last three or two years since he has been president, South Africa is lagging behind on the vaccination roll out, it has not dealt with corruption, unemployment is skyrocketing and clearly the reform project is not one that he has been able to champion going forward. Therefore in the light of all of that I really do believe that it sets up the prevailing conditions for change that we need going forward,” Maimane said.