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DA: ANC trying to divide SA along racial lines

The DA has reacted to President Zuma’s comments on its leader, saying he leads a party of oppressors.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that comments by President Jacob Zuma that he doesn't understand how a black man can agree to lead a party of oppressors show the African National Congress (ANC) is trying to divide the country along racial lines.

Zuma made the comments while speaking in Tembisa this week, in what's believed to have been an attack on DA leader Mmusi Maimane, ahead of the municipal elections.

The DA's Ekurhuleni mayoral candidate, Ghaleb Cachalia, says the ANC's strategy is dangerous.

"What we fought for in 1994 was so that we can make choices based on our values and beliefs; not to be told by the president of the country that we will be selling our race out."

But the ANC's Khusela Sangoni says President Zuma doesn't need to apologise for anything.

"When the president raised the fact that Mmusi Maimane is leading a party that is a haven for all those who oppressed us, I'm not sure at which point this is patronising."

Several polls have indicated that the DA and the ANC are running neck and neck against each other in at least two metro municipalities.

Furthermore, the ANC says it's not using the race card against the opposition, but that its simply speaking truth about a party it claims is harbouring racists.

Sangoni says they are doing nothing wrong by pointing to some of the members in the DA.

"If the DA is able to come and apologise for the atrocities that they committed against our people, then perhaps we could look at the DA with different eyes. But now, they continue to harbour them, they put a black man in front and think that South Africans are going to be fooled."

Cachalia says playing the race card could have dire consequences.

"In a country like ours, which has been ridden by race, when you play the race card - it is a dangerous card to play, and the consequences can be quite dire."

These local government elections are generally seen as the most tightly contested since 1994.

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