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DA 'unfazed' by show of support for EFF

The DA says it's confident South Africans won't fall for the EFF's 'catastrophic' policies.

DA leader Helen Zille delivers the party's election manifesto on 23 February. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it's not fazed by the huge show of support for the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), saying it's confident South Africans will not fall for what it calls 'catastrophic' policies.

Around 60,000 people filled a stadium in Tembisa for the EFF's manifesto launch on Saturday, while roughly the same number of people attended the DA's event in Polokwane yesterday.

Both manifestos focused on creating jobs and boosting the economy but their long-term strategies for governance are completely different.

DA leader Helen Zille says if the EFF can survive for two years, it might make an impact.

"I don't think they will get into power in this election, but they will win a couple of local authorities if they can hold themselves together by 2016 and then people can see the catastrophic consequences of their policies. The sooner people do that the better."

Meanwhile, the EFF's commissar for justice and special projects Advocate Dali Mpofu says the party put a lot of hard work into its manifesto and the promises contained in it which it will honour.

"It has a sobering effect on all of us. Malema himself said on Saturday that anybody who is found guilty of corruption in the party will not be able to lead the EFF or participate in the EFF government and we seriously mean that."

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says there are clear distinctions between the two manifestos.

"Their manifestos are as different as can be. The EFF is calling for the state to take over the commanding rights of the economy, while the DA is saying you need to reduce the state and affirm the market of business."

EFF VS DA

EFF leader Julius Malema said if elected to power, the party would improve the quality of life for the poor by instituting a minimum wage of R4,500 and increase salaries and benefits through the state by taking ownership of private banks, mines and land.

The party said the ANC had been given 20 years, but still had not managed to improve the lives of many South Africans.

"Now is the time to bring real change, now is the time to put bread on the table."

Meanwhile, Zille said if her party was elected to power, it would increase the National Student Financial Aid Scheme budget to R16 billion.

"If you want to work hard at school and you want to study further, a lack of money shouldn't hold you back. We will create millions of internships over our term of office."

The party said it aimed to save R30 billion a year by cutting corruption and firing corrupt officials.

The DA claims its economic policies would allow the economy to grow at eight percent per year and within 10 years, it would be able to double the budget for social grants.

This appears to be an attempt to reach out to voters that may have not previously considered voting for the party.

The party also wants to change the labour bargaining system so smaller firms will not be bound to wage agreements struck by bigger companies.

This seems to be aimed at people who the party believes are unemployed because smaller firms can't afford to hire them under the current legal system.