South Africa’s main opposition the Democratic Alliance yesterday launched its election manifesto in the economic hub of Johannesburg, one of the key areas it wants to wrestle from the ruling party in local polls in August. 
The party, which already governs one of the country’s nine provinces, has chipped away at the ruling African National Congress’ (ANC) large majority, growing its share of votes to 22% from 16% in national polls in 2014. 
The elections are set to be the most fiercely contested in the 22 years since the fall of apartheid due to growing unhappiness over corruption in government and persistently high unemployment as the continent’s most-industrialised economy teeters on the brink of a recession. 
A poll by Ipsos in March found that 29% of the people interviewed were planning vote for the ANC, while 26% said they would vote for the opposition Democratic Alliance. 
The centre-right party, which has positioned itself as a market-friendly alternative to the left-leaning ANC, yesterday promised more than 20,000 supporters crammed into the Rand Stadium an “honest government” that would create jobs and deliver services. 
“It is a referendum on the future of our country,” leader of the party Mmusi Maimane said referring to the August 3 polls. 
“The ANC governs as if black lives don’t matter,” said 35-year-old Maimane, who became the DA’s first black leader a year ago as it looked to counter perceptions that it is a white party and capture a larger slice of the black, working and middle class vote. 
“We have seen an increase in corruption, starting at the very top. We have a president who was found by the Constitutional Court to have broken the Constitution and the law,” Maimane said in a speech. 
The party’s mayoral candidates took turns accusing the ANC-led government of misusing state funds and failing to grow the economy, saying its bid to impeach the president in March that was easily defeated by the ANC’s majority in parliament was proof the ruling party put corruption ahead of the people. 
The impeachment bid was triggered by a court ruling last month that found President Jacob Zuma had violated the constitution by refusing to reimburse the state part of the $16mn spent on renovating his home.

Malema threatens violence to oust Zuma

The firebrand head of South Africa’s radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters, Julius Malema, has warned he could seek to remove the government “through the barrel of a gun.” 
“We are not scared of the army. We are not scared to fight. We will fight,” he told Al Jazeera network in an interview to be broadcast today. 
Asked by the interviewer if that meant he was ready to take up arms, Malema said “Yeah, literally I mean it literally. We are not scared... 
“We will run out of patience very soon and we will remove this government through a barrel of a gun”. 
The EFF has been demanding the ouster of President Jacob Zuma for several months, accusing him of corruption. 
Late last month, South Africa’s constitutional court ruled Zuma had violated the constitution in using public funds to upgrade his private residence and said he must repay the money. 
EFF deputies regularly disrupt parliamentary sessions, sometimes shouting anti-Zuma slogans. 
Last year, EFF MPs were expelled from the assembly by security guards after fights broke out. 
“We are a very peaceful organisation, we fight our battles through peaceful means, through the courts, through parliament, through mass mobilisation, we do that peacefully,” Malema told Al Jazeera. 
“But at times the government has attempted to respond to such with violence, they beat us up in parliament... They sent soldiers to places like Alexandra (township) where people are protesting.” 
The EFF leader, 35, was expelled from the ruling ANC in 2012 when he was head of the party’s youth wing. 
A year later he founded the radical leftist EFF which entered parliament with 25 deputies after May 2014 elections, becoming the third largest party.

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