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Maimane to assess ‘true state of the nation’

The DA Parliamentary leader launched a nationwide campaign called Power to the People.

FILE: The DA’s candidate for Gauteng premier Mmusi Maimane is seen in the party’s ‘Ayisafani 2’ election campaign advert. Picture: Screenshot from YouTube.

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says he will engage with South Africans to assess what he calls the "true state of the nation".

He has launched a nationwide campaign called Power to the People at the Leratong Hospice.

The campaign aims to establish the true needs of South Africans ahead of the State of the Nation Address due to be delivered by President Jacob Zuma next month.

Maimane's spokesperson Mabine Seabe says the campaign will now move to other parts of the country.

"The DA would like to hear firsthand from South Africans the real state of the nation. We visit this hospice where they are often hit by power cuts and load shedding and have to redirect funds for caring for patients to run generators which costs them about R350 per day."

During Zuma's addressing African National Congress (ANC) 103rd birthday celebration at the Cape Town Stadium last week he said the country's electricity problem is not a result of failed leadership but rather a legacy of apartheid.

"There's a belief out there that the electricity challenge is a result of the failure of government of lack of leadership.

"The economy of apartheid was racially skewed and structured to take care of the minority, not the majority of the country."

'ZUMA MUST NOT ANSWER NKANDLA QUESTIONS AT SONA'

Maimane said President Jacob Zuma must still answer questions about the Nkandla spending scandal, but his State of the Nation Address (Sona) next month is not the right place to do so.

Parliament has made it clear any questions will be deemed out of order, setting the stage for a possible showdown.

Maimane says the DA won't be part of any attempts to disrupt Zuma's speech and has called on his party's Members of Parliament (MPs) to abide by the rules.

"Destroying the institution of Parliament is in fact no way to strengthen its role."

Maimane says Zuma needs to say when he will come to Parliament to answer Members of Parliament (MPs)' questions and catch up on the session he was forced to abandon in August.

"We're asking for five concrete dates. If the President cannot commit to five concrete dates, then who does the President serve?"

He says his MPs will obey the rules, as long as they're applied fairly.

However, Julius Malema and his EFF MPs have threatened to disrupt Zuma's address next month in order to find out when he will "pay back the money" they believe he owes relating to the multimillion rand security upgrades at his Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Nkandla upgrades came under heavy criticism in a report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in March last year, but Zuma has always maintained he did nothing wrong.

Maimane says the EFF's planned disruption of the event might be good for high drama, but ignoring Parliament's rules could erode its ability to hold the government to account.

Meanwhile, the Presidency says parliamentary work always forms part of Zuma's diary.

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