S.Africa opposition targets disillusioned voters ahead of polls
South Africa's main opposition party launched its campaign Saturday for August municipal elections by targeting black voters disillusioned with the African National Congress (ANC) that has ruled since apartheid.
"In 2016, the face of poverty is still black," Democratic Alliance (DA) party head Mmusi Maimane told tens of thousands of supporters at a Johannesburg rally.
"And this is why it is true when we say: The ANC governs as if black lives don't matter."
The DA hopes to make major gains in the municipal elections set for August 3, tapping into widespread discontent over South Africa's dire economy and embattled President Jacob Zuma.
DA already governs the city and province of Cape Town and has been working to erase the image that it favours the white minority in the nation of some 52 million.
Maimane told supporters to use the vote to send a message about the state of the nation.
"It is a referendum on the future of our country," he said. "The election is an opportunity to send a message to President Zuma and the ANC that we are sick and tired of their lies."
Zuma has faced a chorus of demands to step down after the Constitutional Court ruled last month that he failed to uphold the constitution by refusing an ombudswoman's orders to repay money spent on upgrading his private home.
The affair has become a symbol of alleged corruption and greed within the ANC, which has ruled since Nelson Mandela came to power in 1994 after the end of apartheid.
"We have seen an increase in corruption, starting at the very top," Maimane said.
DA is aiming to overtake the ANC in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth in the south and the administrative capital Pretoria, three major cities where it won 30-40 percent of the vote in the last municipal vote in 2011.
© 2016 AFP