Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said the party intends to intensify its mandate of creating more jobs and quality education in the country.

Maimane was speaking on Wednesday during the launch of the party’s People’s Forum Tour in Sebothoma Hall, Hammanskraal, and North of Pretoria.

Over the next month, Maimane will be visiting communities across the country to discuss the daily challenges experienced by South Africans that need to be addressed in Parliament this year.

“My struggle is to fight for the poor people, the poor people who don’t have food, who don’t have clothes, who don’t have education….as long as our people are poor, it means we are still not free. We must fight to eradicate poverty in our lifetime. It can’t be right that our people don’t have food, it can’t be right that you are poor and you can’t send your kids to school. The only people who are happy are rich people,” Maimane said.

“We are going to work in Tshwane, it’s a long way but we will get there, we inherited problems from the previous government but we must make sure we bring change.”

Maimane reassured the people that if the DA wins the 2019 national elections, they will increase the social grant.

“How do you raise a child on R300? You can’t do that. That’s why in parliament in 2017 we said make the amount double. Decrease the number of cabinet members and use that money to double money for the social grant to feed the poor,” he said to loud cheers in the hall.

Maimane also spoke about corruption and how the DA intends to fight it. He reiterated that corruption is not something that starts from nowhere, but it’s something that is supported by a political party and its decisions.

“When the DA comes into power, the head of National Prosecution Authority is going to be appointed by parliament, not the president, so that even when the president is wrong, that person will have powers to prosecute him.”

“What we are seeing now, is the president appointing his friends and he knows they will protect him,” Maimane said.

When asked by residents how the DA intends to increase employment, Maimane said the party intends to fund more small businesses and make sure they expand employment in municipalities where people can get experience.

“We will give the youth a year’s programme, where in that year they will be able to learn skills and pay them over R2,500 a month, when they have skills like plumbing and electrician, so that they can be able to open their businesses if they don’t want to be employed.”

A 53-year-old woman, who appeared ecstatic over Maimane’s promises, said she believes that under the DA she will get a job.

“I was part of the African National Congress for 15 years but I never got a job, we being promised all the time that we will get jobs but nothing happened. I’m tired of being lied to, that’s why I joined the DA,” she said.

Earlier, more than 100 residents who were employed in the Expanded Public Works Programme protested outside the hall, demanding that Maimane give them their jobs back.

“They didn’t renew our contracts and just told us by mouth that we should stop coming to work, why didn’t they give us termination letters,” asked Maria Mokaba.

The aggrieved residents said they were told that they will stop working in 2020 and that’s what they are demanding.