South Africa’s main opposition party lays out plans to unseat ANC

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Opposition Democratic Alliance party leader John Steenhuisen waves at supporters in Pretoria, South Africa on Feb 17 for their national manifesto launch in anticipation of the 2024 general elections. (AP)

PRETORIA, South Africa, Feb 18, (AP): Thousands of South Africans gathered in the capital Saturday to show support for the country’s biggest opposition party as it prepares for a much-anticipated national election in which it hopes to wrest control of the government from the ruling African National Congress.
Many of the Democratic Alliance backers assembled in the Union Buildings, the official seat of South Africa’s government in Pretoria, expressed faith the party would deliver better basic services and address some of the country’s daunting challenges.
These include a worsening electricity crisis that has caused rolling power blackouts for households and businesses on a daily basis. Participants at the Democratic Alliance conference also highlighted South Africa’s unemployment rate of over 32%, with the party promising to create at least 2 million new jobs if it prevails in this year’s general election.
The date for the National Assembly and provincial elections has not been set, but it is expected to be sometime between May and August.
Democratic Alliance supporters marched through the streets of the capital before listening to a spirited speech by party leader John Steenhuisen, who vowed to unseat the African National Congress and accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of enabling corruption by ANC members and leaders.
South Africa’s upcoming elections have been touted as one of the toughest yet for the ruling party, with recent polls suggesting the ANC may receive less than 50% of the national vote for the first time since the country’s white minority rule ended in 1994.
During the 2019 elections, the Democratic Alliance received just over 20% of the national vote to remain the second-biggest party in the country after the ANC. The party is now exploring the possibility of forming a governing coalition with several other opposition parties in order to remove the ANC from power if they together win more than 50% of the national vote.
“By bringing an end to opposition infighting and consolidating like-minded parties into a cohesive bloc, this formation offers voters the best prospect for political change since 1994,” Steenhuisen told party loyalists Saturday.

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