S. Africa opposition launches election manifesto

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa's main opposition party on Saturday launched its manifesto for the upcoming May general elections, with education and job creation taking center stage.

"We are going to fire a corrupt government and hire a new one," Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, told thousands of cheering supporters at the launch of the party's manifesto.

She then introduced Musi Maimane, the party's candidate for the post of premier of Gauteng – a region which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria.

"We have the right man to lead Gauteng…He has integrity, intelligence and determination, he is a blue man," Zille told the crowd.

Maimane, for his part, accused the government of providing low quality education in public schools, making many of the graduates unable to compete for jobs in the market.

"We know that the first step to job creation is quality education," he told the party's supporters.

Maimane said his party will start by upgrading schools and building new ones with a special focus on math, science and technology.

"We will get principals and teachers to perform better," he vowed amidst cheers from over 6,000 supporters who had turned up for the launch ceremony.

"Most importantly we will deliver 100 percent of text books on time, to every school, for every learner, in every subject," added the opposition politician.

"No more will a child in Soweto receive an inferior education to the child in Sandton," he said.

Soweto is a township of Johannesburg inhabited by mostly blacks while Sandton is a rich suburb north of Johannesburg mainly occupied by whites and rich blacks.

"The doors will be open to all. Viva quality education, Viva," Maimane told supporters wearing the party's trademark blue t-shirts.

South Africans will go to the polls on May 7 to elect a president, parliamentary deputies and city council representatives.

Twenty-nine political parties will contest the polls.

The race will likely be led by five parties, including Zuma's ANC, the Democratic Alliance (the country's main opposition party), the recently-established Economic Freedom Fighters, the Congress of the People, and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

-Promises-

Maimane promised that if elected as premier of Gauteng he will do his utmost efforts to help create jobs for millions of people.

"You see, where the DA governs, we create jobs," he said.

"Unemployment is the lowest in the country where the DA governs," he added referring to the Western Cape region which is ruled by his party.

The youthful politician suggested that while the country lost 122,000 jobs under President Jacob Zuma, the DA has created 48,000 jobs in areas under its control.

"This is what I want to bring to Gauteng, as next premier of Gauteng," Maimane said as the crowd cheered and waved DA placards some of which read "Fighting for change, fighting for jobs."

The opposition politician also promised to empower people to start businesses.

"Entrepreneurs must lead job creation in Gauteng," he said.

He claimed that the government "acts outside the law to forcefully remove traders from our city centers."

The government has recently evicted unlicensed informal traders from the streets of Johannesburg.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency