Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says his party will replace the Hawks with a new Anti-Corruption Unit to fight corruption in South Africa.
Maimane was addressing more than 20,000 DA supporters – dressed in their blue and white regalia, at the party’s colourful manifesto launch at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg.
He said endemic corruption in South Africa has stolen the dignity and the future of millions of poor people.
“If you are a corrupt politician, you will spend at least 15 years in jail. I want to create a new, independent and fully-resourced Anti-Corruption Unit, staffed by both specialist prosecutors and investigators,” Maimane told his supporters.
The new unit, according to the party’s manifesto, will replace the Hawks with the requisite specialisation, training, independence, resources and security of tenure as demanded by the Constitutional Court.
The structure of this new anti-corruption unit will be based on the erstwhile Office for Serious Economic Offences, with cognisance of the Serious Fraud Office in the UK and the Singapore model.
The unit will be staffed and led by the SAPS members and a prosecutorial arm, staffed and led by specialist NPA members.
“We will send criminals to prison,” said Maimane.
“The South Africa I want to build will have no place for corruption and corrupt politicians. In the South Africa I want to build, our police service will be a well-trained, properly equipped and highly motivated crime-fighting unit.”
Maimane lambasted the governing party, the African National Congress, for ‘stealing’ from the poor and making empty promises in the past 25 years since the defeat of the National Party in 1994.
“Today, 25 years into our democracy, the people of Matjhabeng in the Free State are still waiting for clean running water,” said Maimane.
“Those who started out as liberators had ended up looting from the people they liberated. And they were looting the Arms Deal, Bosasa and VBS while millions didn’t have money to get by. Corruption has stolen the dignity and the future of millions of our people.”
He added: “It is 25 years since our democracy. Our people are still poor. Our children are still dying in latrines. Our people still do not have access to basic services. We want change and we want it now. Why in 25 years has there been no progress?”
Maimane said South Africans must go out in their millions on May 8 and vote the ANC out of power.
“The May elections are the most important in our democratic history. The proverbial post-liberation honeymoon is over. Our country needs desperately to enter a new phase of democracy where the DA will lead it into prosperity. Our country desperately needs a change and that change can only come through the DA … The DA is a government and where govern we deliver to all South Africans,” said Maimane.
“We have a track record of delivery. The best proof that the DA is the best party is that the Western Cape has an unemployment rate of 11% below the rest of SA. If you are looking for a job you will find it. I want to thank the great achievements by Premier Helen Zille in the Western Cape. You have done us proud in the Western Cape.”