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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Saturday, 18 April 2009 13:38 UK

South Africa 'doomed under Zuma'

Helen Zille at the DA's final rally
Helen Zille is running for premier in the Western Cape

South African opposition leader Helen Zille has urged voters to stop the African National Congress from turning the country into a "failed state".

Speaking at the final Democratic Alliance (DA) rally before elections on Wednesday, Ms Zille accused the ruling ANC of cronyism.

A crowd of about 3,000 people came to hear her speak despite heavy rain.

She told the crowd their votes could stop the ANC from retaining their two-thirds majority.

'Telling the truth'

"Only the DA is strong enough to stop (ANC President Jacob) Zuma taking us down the road of a failed state," she said.

She made frequent reference to criminal charges of corruption and racketeering brought against Mr Zuma which he denies and which were dismissed earlier this month.

In 10 years time people will look back and everyone will know the DA was telling the truth from the start
Helen Zille
Democratic Alliance leader

Speaking in three South African languages, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English, she urged the crowd to prevent the ANC from getting a two-thirds majority.

The DA fears that if the ANC achieves this, it use it to change the constitution to influence the independence of the judicial system.

"In 10 years time people will look back and everyone will know the DA was telling the truth from the start," she said.

She also accused the ruling party of overseeing a system that put services for the people in the hands of friends and family of ANC leaders.

'Electric atmosphere'

Mrs Zille danced and sang at the rally which buoyed up her supporters despite the rain.

She sang along to the Afrikaans song "Koekie Loekie" which has become her trademark.

The lyrics of the bawdy ballad roughly translate as "Hey Koekie, with your little tight pants."

The BBC's Peter Biles in Cape Town said the atmosphere at the stadium was electric.

The DA is the only party that suggests it is possible to cross the racial barrier, he says.

Mrs Zille has massive support from coloured or mixed race South Africans in the western Cape.



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