Diverse, youthful and competent DA caucus ready to build One South Africa for All

Ahead of tomorrow’s opening sitting of the 6th Democratic Parliament of South Africa, the DA’s caucus sat for the very first time this morning. On behalf of the 84 National Assembly (NA) Members, and 13 National Council of Provinces (NCOP) members, we are truly humbled and honoured to have been elected as the Official Opposition in this 6th Parliament and we thank you for voting for us to be your elected representatives.

We take our constitutional duty very seriously and will work hard to ensure that the work of this Parliament will be to better the lives of all South Africans – nothing more and nothing less. Every bill, policy, regulation and motion will be measured against this, and we will fearlessly stand up to those whose sole aim is to undermine this project for their own enrichment.

The DA’s work in this 6th Parliament will be guided by the following two hold principles: (1)holding government accountable for the exercise of their powers, and (2) putting forward fresh ideas and credible alternatives to government plans and policies. This is how we intend to ensure parliament comes alive and works for the people, and not for politicians and their connected cronies.

 The DA’s Caucus

As Leader of the DA, I am immensely proud to lead this caucus. It encompasses the spirit of South Africa. Individuals from all walks of life – old and young, black and white, gay and straight – who are bound together by shared values and a desire to see our nation prosper and grow.

Of the 14 political parties represented in this 6th Parliament, I have no doubt that the DA’s caucus is the most diverse and competent of all. In this caucus you won’t find anyone with allegations of corruption or wrongdoing hanging over their head. Our selection process produces quality, fit for purpose MPs – not a patronage network of self-serving loyalists.

Some of the notable newcomers to our caucus include: Banking Executive and Founder of AgriProf, Noko Masipa; Youngest MP in democratic history, Sibongiseni Ngcobo; Former NFP National Chairperson, Maliyakhe Shelembe; DA Federal Youth Leader,Luyolo Mphithi; Author, Leon Schreiber; Outgoing Communications Director, Siviwe Gwarube; Eastern Cape DASO Chairperson, Baxolile Nodada; and Former MMC in Tshwane, Cilliers Brink.

In terms of caucus leadership, I can today announce that I have decided to appoint John Steenhuisen as the DA’s Chief Whip in the National Assembly for this 6th Parliament. John served as Chief Whip during the 5th Parliament and excelled in the execution of his duties. I have full confidence in his knowledge and experience of parliamentary operations, rules and procedures, and he adds incomparable value to the leadership of the DA caucus.

All other leadership positions will be contested through a caucus election. These are Deputy Chief in the National Assembly; Leader in the National Council of Provinces; Caucus Chairperson; and Deputy Caucus Chairperson. The election for these caucus leadership positions will be held in due course on date which will be communicated to the media and the public.

I have no doubt that with such a talented mix of skill, expertise and experience, this diverse caucus is well-equipped to serve the people of South Africa for the next 5 years.

In terms of this caucus’s agenda in the coming months, we have prioritised the following key interventions which we believe will strengthen Parliament and serve the people of South Africa.

Tabling the “Jobs Bill”

With 9.9 million South Africans without a job, and an expanded unemployment rate of 38%, our nation’s biggest challenge remains how we create work for the growing number of those without.

Therefore, within the coming weeks, the DA will table the “Jobs Bill” – our legislative blueprint to create an enabling environment for accelerated job creation in South Africa. This Bill focuses on two key areas critical to job creation: Foreign investment and SMMEs.

In this light, it aims to:

  • Provide for special tax incentives and property allowances for foreign companies that meet certain socio-economic empowerment goals, including key areas such as industrial projects, enterprise investment, critical infrastructure, research & development, agri-businesses and film and TV production;
  • Address many concerns that foreign investors have around the resolution of disputes in South Africa, providing certainty as to encourage investment;
  • Protect and supports SMMEs by ensuring greater flexibility in the labour market through minimum wage exemption for businesses that fall into certain classifications. This will keep the doors open to thousands of small businesses and protect the jobs of hundreds of thousands of employees;
  • Eradicate unnecessary red tape that small businesses still have to comply with; and
  • Create a special forum for dispute resolution specifically for SMMEs.

 Establishing Standing Committee on the Presidency

 As it stands, the Presidency – an integral government department – operates without any direct parliamentary oversight. Unlike other government departments, the Presidency can appoint and remove staff, pass budgets, and perform all other functions without the constitutional oversight which parliament is mandated to perform. This cannot continue.

Therefore, the DA will be pursuing the establishment of a Standing Committee on the Presidency – a dedicated committee which has oversight power over all the affairs of the Presidency. Indeed, “nine wasted years” showed us the extent of damage unchecked power in the Presidency can cause. We must remedy this loophole in accountability, and have no doubt that other parties will support this move to strengthen our democracy.

 Shadow Cabinet Meetings and Briefings

In the coming days, I will appoint the official opposition’s Shadow Cabinet, comprising of Shadow Ministers tasked with holding government accountable for the exercise of their powers, and putting forward fresh ideas and credible alternatives to government plans and policies.

This Shadow Cabinet will officially meet every fortnight to be chaired by the Chief Whip. The purpose of these meetings will be to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda; to deliberate on new policies, debates, and motions; and to table any other matters. The Shadow Cabinet will hold a media briefing after each meeting.

Establish a “Caucus of the Opposition”

While opposition parties differ on a litany of matters, there are issues which find accord with all those who find themselves on opposition benches. The collective work done by opposition parties in the build up to Jacob Zuma’s removal shows that despite our differences, we can find common ground of select issues.

Therefore, I will work to establish a working group of opposition party leaders in which we consider issues that transcend party politics – on a case-by-case basis – and work together to charter a way forward that puts the interests of South Africa first.

Regular Engagement with Leader of Government Business

The President is required to appoint the Leader of Government Business in Parliament – responsible for maintaining a cordial, working relationship between Parliament and the Executive. The LOGB is obligated to meet with Opposition Party Leaders on a regular basis – something which has not routinely happened in the recent past. I will be formally approaching President Cyril Ramaphosa, in writing, requesting his commitment to ensure that the LOGB is a present and engaged player, so that constructive dialogue between all parties becomes a standard practice of the 6th Parliament.

Conclusion

The DA is committed to making the 6th Parliament work, so that South Africa works. We will not oppose and critique just for the sake of it. We will engage in a practice of constructive opposition. Our mission is to work for the people of South Africa and rebuild a country and its institutions which have been hollowed out and broken.

Where we are in government we have shown that even under harsh economic circumstances there can be growth, job creation, and improving living conditions for all – especially the poor.

It is clear that the ANC has not reformed, and it shows no signs of doing so. To allow compromised characters such as Nomvula Mokonyane, Silvia Lucas and Pemmy Majodina to be appointed to senior parliamentary positions shows weak leadership by Cyril Ramaphosa and exposes the hollow fallacy of a “stronger mandate”. Instead of a stronger mandate, we are given the same corrupt ANC. Because in the ANC, corruption and unethical behaviour is a prerequisite for promotion.

In this light, the role of the DA as the Official Opposition has never been important, and we will work each and every day to uphold the country’s Constitutional Democracy and offer credible alternatives that seek to build One South Africa for All.

Public Protector’s Vrede Report: Ace Magashule and Mosebenzi Zwane must face prosecution

Today’s decision by the North Gauteng High Court to set aside Public Protector, Adv Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into the Vrede Dairy Project is a victory in the fight against corruption, and we are now one step closer in seeking justice for the more than 100 intended beneficiaries of this sham empowerment scheme.

When I met with these intended beneficiaries in Vrede almost two years ago, I undertook to fight this matter on all fronts. The DA laid the initial complaint with the Public Protector, and following the release of her report we held the view that the report was a “whitewash” as it failed to hold to account those responsible for the theft of almost R200 million of public money. Today, the North Gauteng High Court has vindicated our view, as it held this report to be unconstitutional and invalid.

Instead of empowering those who are left out of the economy, over 100 black South Africans were used as a front for a calculated scheme of grand corruption and money laundering to benefit the Guptas and their friends in the ANC. Between the Guptas and the ANC, economic opportunity was stolen from black South Africans. This is a crime of the most reprehensible nature, and those responsible must face the full might of the law.

In July 2017, the DA laid criminal charges against those implicated in this act of corruption. These charges include money laundering, racketeering, assisting another to benefit from the proceeds of unlawful activities, and acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities in terms of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act 121 of 1998. A month later I hand delivered a legal indictment containing over 200 pages of prima facie evidence of these crimes to the Hawks.

I will now urgently seek an update from National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Adv Shamila Batohi, as to progress on this investigation. It is high time that the criminal justice system does its job. It’s been almost one and a half years since Cyril Ramaphosa became President and vowed to fight corruption. Yet today, not a single person implicated in corruption has been held accountable and put behind bars. Instead, the chief architects of corruption – like Ace Magashule, Bathabile Dlamini, Nomvula Mokonyane and Mosebenzi Zwane – remain in charge and occupy ANC benches in Parliament.

We believe that this is a clear-cut example of money laundering and corruption. The charges have been laid, the evidence is clear and overwhelming, and now all that’s left to do is move forward with prosecution. It is unacceptable that the perpetrators of this crime have yet to be charged, and as such, this indictment serves to speed up the wheels of justice to ensure that those who stole the people’s money are prosecuted, and if found guilty by a court of law – are put behind bars.

The Public Protector seems hellbent on wasting precious funds on spurious litigation. In fact, a disproportionate amount of Adv Mkhwebane’s budget has been wasted on unsuccessful litigation when this money ought to be spent on protecting the interests the people of South Africa and holding the powerful to account. We urge her to accept this judgment and to go back to the drawing board. Her job is to protect the public, which includes the over 100 victims of the Vrede Dairy Project.

Later this week the 6th Democratic Parliament of South Africa will be sworn in. The DA – as the official opposition – will work harder than ever before to hold government to account, and to expose corruption wherever it rears its ugly head.

DA calls for debate of national importance on financial crisis at Eskom

Following the swearing in of South Africa’s 6th Parliament and election of a new Speaker, the DA will write to the new Speaker requesting a debate of national importance on the unfolding financial crisis at Eskom. This follows media reports that contractors working at Kusile Power Station have submitted claims totaling R36 billion to the financially crippled Eskom.

The South African taxpayer, already burdened with rising electricity costs and flatlining economy, cannot be expected to keep pouring billions of rands into the Eskom blackhole, even as evidence continues to mount on the entity’s terminal decline.

That South Africans are being asked to pay for years of mismanagement at Eskom and poor project management of Eskom’s build programme, is testament to the depth of the national governance crisis engineered by the ANC government.

It is outrageous that the architects of state capture, some of whom were directly involved in the collapse of Eskom, will be sworn in as ‘honorable’ members of the 6th Parliament. Instead of facing consequences for bringing the country to close to financial ruin, they are being rewarded and protected by the ANC.

The DA is urging our law enforcement agencies to ensure that all those who are implicated in the industrial scale corruption that took place at Eskom, and elsewhere in government, are given an opportunity to have their day in court.

The recent directive to license independent power producers (IPPs) was a step in the right direction and we urge the new government to stand its ground and not be bullied by Unions who are intent on saving an underperforming Eskom.

The 6th Parliament has an obligation to ensure that it works to resolve the challenges that have kept Eskom in the red and threatened to send the country on a financial ruin. The DA stands ready and willing to play its role to bring normalcy in the country’s energy sector.

DA calls on ANC politicians and executives to testify before Zondo Commission over Transnet revelations

The revelations of the gross abuse of the people’s money at Transnet by the entity’s Acting GCE, Mohammed Mahomedy, before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry on Thursday is just the tip of a corruption iceberg which will expose the real rot at Transnet.

The amounts of money now being discussed relating to Transnet will dwarf that of Eskom.

Over the past decade, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has laid several criminal charges against the chief architects of capture at Transnet including Executives, officials and board members. However, more needs to be done.

Whether at Eskom, Transnet, Denel or any other State Owner Entity, when it came to State Capture the modus operandi was the same, the players the same, and the mission the same.

It can however not be that senior officials are the only ones who account before the commission. ANC politicians and members of Cabinet must also account, especially those under the previous administration.

The revelations at the commission cannot continue without testimony from the Executives who were responsible for these parastatals.

The Executive had to have known as board appointments are discussed at Cabinet level.

Unlike the ANC, the DA takes corruption and allegations of corruption serious, whether its externally or internally. It is for this reason the DA proposes that those found guilty of corruption face a 15 years jail sentence

Carbon Tax Bill will lead to further job losses and higher cost of living

In February this year, Parliament passed the Carbon Tax Bill which will see companies which exceed the threshold of carbon emissions, charged R120 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions, following the polluter pays principle.

However, the polluter will not be the only one paying. The passing of this Bill means that on 1 June, petrol and diesel prices will increase by 9c and 10c per liter respectively, to incorporate carbon tax.

Once again South Africa’s heavily taxed consumers must pay the price for others’ failures, and fund the bottomless pit of state capture, corruption and maladministration.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is the only party which opposed the Bill. Carbon taxes will only lead to further job losses and higher cost of living.

South Africa does not need further taxes, as it will only lead to stagnant economic growth which we cannot afford. Taxes need to be decreased to attract foreign investment, stimulate economic activity and create jobs.

The Carbon Tax Bill is a job killing tax and it is proof that government does not know how to address climate change.

Instead of taking carbon emitters head on, the ANC would rather have ordinary South Africans bear the brunt.

The Democratic Alliance would impose heavy fines for polluters, and ensure that our country is taking active steps to reduce carbon emissions. Taxing South African consumers is not the way to solve this problem.

South Africans abroad continue to support the DA, but voting challenges persist

With the results of the 2019 General Election now confirmed we are pleased to announce that 74.45% of South Africans who cast their vote abroad on the 27 April, voted for the DA. Thank you to every single voter abroad who travelled great distances to foreign missions around the world on Freedom Day to make their vote count.

We know that there are hundreds of thousands of South Africans living around the world who still care very much for our country and for our friends and family back home – casting our vote is one way of displaying this. We also know that there are many obstacles to casting your vote abroad.

As the DA Abroad we have fought for better access to voting abroad since before the 2009 elections, requesting:

  • More voting stations
  • No requirement for a passport to vote
  • Our votes to count towards the provincial ballot

In 2014 our actions resulted in South Africans being able to register abroad to vote, and by lobbying the IEC ahead of the 2019 elections we were given weekend voting, the overseas voting process was streamlined, and the queue times were reduced significantly.

We are also happy to announce that this year every single ballot cast abroad arrived back in South Africa to be counted, unlike in 2014.

Unfortunately, all our other requests were blocked by the ANC government with no reason given.

The DA Abroad team of volunteers worked tirelessly ahead of this election to drive awareness of overseas voting, engaging with South Africans abroad to encourage them to vote. On election day we had over 60 volunteers at 25 voting stations around the world (23 in London alone), with party agents observing the voting process for over 63% of the votes cast to ensure they were done so freely and fairly.

19,882 votes were cast abroad, and this was up from 18,132 in 2014, and the results show overwhelming support for the DA with 14,802 votes cast in our favour.

Overseas voting in numbers:

2019 valid votes cast abroad = 19,882

2019 approved VEC10 applications = 31,314

2014 valid votes cast abroad = 18,247

2014 approved VEC10 applications = 27,084

Top 10 overseas voting stations by votes cast:

LONDON              5,920     (61% turnout)

DUBAI                  1,096     (66% turnout)

THE HAGUE        949        (67% turnout)

ABU DHABI         842        (77% turnout)

DUBLIN               581        (67% turnout)

KINSHASA           523        (62% turnout)

CANBERRA         522        (41% turnout)

DOHA                   467        (79% turnout)

WELLINGTON     458        (47% turnout)

NEW YORK         401        (62% turnout)

Throughout the campaign, we heard from many South Africans who were frustrated by the hurdles they’re expected to overcome simply to enact their democratic right, and witnessed even more who were turned away at the voting station because they didn’t have the correct documentation or who hadn’t completed the VEC10 form.

The DA Abroad will continue to lobby Parliament in the coming years to ensure that South Africans abroad can vote with more ease while ensuring the integrity of the system.

SA needs a plan to build an inclusive and growing economy to address highest unemployment rate since 2017

The release of the StatsSA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey today revealed that the South African official unemployment rate has increased to 27.6%, and the expanded unemployment rate increased to 38%, translating to 9.9 million unemployed people in South Africa. While the increase is marginal, it is indicative of an economy which is stagnant and shedding jobs at an alarming rate. This is compounded by a National Government that is devoid of a credible, long-term plan for jobs and the economy

This current trajectory is unsustainable. South Africa simply cannot afford to lose any more jobs.

This 0.5% increase represents millions South Africans who cannot put food on the table or provide their families with basic necessities.

In the brutal face of 15% VAT, an increase in electricity costs, looming winter blackouts and unchecked corruption, it is clear that the current National Government is working against all attempts to build an working economy.

Despite this, the DA-governed Western Cape has again bucked the unemployment trend and is the only province to decrease it’s expanded unemployment rate by 0.4 percentage points.

The DA maintains that a job in every home is possible. More than 90% of households on the DA-governed Western Cape have a job in every home.

Instead of the ANC’s one-size-fits-all approach to fixing the joblessness crisis in South Africa, the DA proposes a complete reform of the economy.

South Africa’s current economic conditions are not conducive for job creation. South Africa needs an inclusive and growing economy.

It is for this reason, the DA introduced its ‘Jobs Act’ last month. The Act advocates for the protection and support of SMMEs by ensuring greater flexibility in the labour market through minimum wage exemption for businesses that fall into certain classifications. This will guarantee that doors of thousands of small businesses remain open and protect thousands of jobs.

The Act will also do away with all unnecessary red tape that small businesses still have to comply with, this will make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up shop. In addition to this, the DA’s Jobs Act will ensure the creation of a special forum for dispute resolution specifically for SMMEs.

One of the biggest obstacles to economic growth in this country is the rampant corruption and poor governance record on the part of the ANC. Only if we take a hard stance against corruption, as in the DA governed Western Cape, will the country be able to attract investment to spur growth which creates jobs.

We remain committed to Building One South Africa for All

The following statement was delivered today by DA Federal Chairperson, Athol Trollip at a press briefing at Nkululeko House. Mr Trollip was joined by the DA FedEx Chairperson, James Selfe, DA National Spokespersons, Refiloe Nt’sekhe and Solly Malatsi, and all DA Provincial Leaders.

We would like to thank the three-point-six-million voters who entrusted the DA with the responsibility of Building One South Africa. Further to this, we would like to thank the people of the Western Cape who bestowed upon us the role of the majority party. We will work day and night, to build on the last 10-years of good governance in the Western Cape.

When we set our 2019 elections targets, we did so under very different internal and external circumstances. This was on the back of terrific and inspiring outcomes in 2016, where we were granted the privilege and responsibility of governing in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and Johannesburg, among another 30-odd municipalities, while retaining the City of Cape Town with a strong majority. These victories gave us the momentum to launch the ’Back to the People’ and ‘Change 19’ Tours. These played a critical role in laying the foundations for the One South Africa for All 2019 General Elections Campaign.

It was in the mix of this euphoria that the terrain rapidly shifted. We were faced with internal challenges and significant changes in the political landscape, the rise nationalism on both the left and the right. In short, both internally and externally there were matters we had to grapple with. We will be the first to state that these factors had a role to play in our electoral fortunes. As the DA we are holding the moderate non-racial centre ground; an important position in the rise of populism.

As members of the Federal Executive, which controls and directs the activities of the Party, and implements the decisions of the Federal Council, we all take responsibility for the outcomes of elections – whether good or bad. That burden does not sit on the shoulders of an individual.

There has been much speculation about the future of our Leader, Mmusi Maimane. We would like to state that Mr Maimane remains our leader until a Federal Congress, scheduled for 2021 decides otherwise. Any talk of a change of a leadership change before a Federal Congress must be dispelled. As the Leadership of the Party, at both a National and Provincial Level, we are unambiguous in our support for Mr Maimane who has led the DA with exemption since the 2015 Nelson Mandela Bay Federal Congress, and his unopposed election in 2018.

One South Africa for All is not just a slogan, it is a call to action, which we will continue to dispense alongside our values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity. Whether in opposition or in government, we will continue to Build One South Africa for All.

We will never celebrate the loss of voters. We are not blind to support in some areas nor are we deaf to the voices of those who chose to support another party in this election. Where the losses occurred, we will work on regaining the trust of the people as we head into the 2021 Local Government Elections, this starts with two by-elections taking place in Nelson Mandela Bay as early as Wednesday; this will be the start of winning back the Bay.

This morning, the Western Cape Provincial Leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, stated that we must be on the ground working with the people of South Africa and always keep them informed; and our Leadership from the top to the branches on the ground will do exactly that. Equally, the best way to celebrate our victory in the Western Cape is to intensify the delivery of services and building a more inclusive economy.

Where we have made inroads in new communities, we will strengthen those bonds. We do not underestimate the bravery many showed when they cast their vote next to the DA for the very first time. Once again, we thank you.

There will be a review of the organisational structure and how we can best operate as a party that occupies governments that serve around 15-million people, and the way we campaign. This review will be in consultation with all stakeholders of the Party.

In closing, we are evermore committed to Building One South Africa and reject racial mobilisation. We believe that the prosperous dream of 1994 can be made a reality, even if it is difficult. That is the nature of change, as we have seen in the past, it is difficult but indeed it is possible.

DA, COPE, UDM and ACDP working to ensure free and fair elections

This morning, representatives of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Congress of the People (COPE), United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) met to forge a partnership to ensure that the 2019 elections are indeed free and fair.

We met in order to agree that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) conduct an audit of all voting districts where instances of voters voting more than once took place. Furthermore, a random audit of other voting districts must take place, in order to get an overall report of this issue.

This proposal was taken to this morning’s National Party Liaison Committee (NPLC), and we are pleased to say that the IEC agreed to proceed with this critical audit.

In order to ensure that the audit is transparent and done with integrity, the process will be overseen by Political Parties.

When the results are announced, there should be no doubt in the minds of the people of South Africa that the election was not free and fair.

We will work closely with all political parties and the IEC in ensuring that the 2019 elections were administered with the highest level of integrity.

DA’s project of building One South Africa for All is on track

I’d like to thank every single voter that came out on Wednesday to support the DA’s mission of building a non-racial alternative at the centre of South African politics. Thank you for sharing our vision of One South Africa for All and for your vote of confidence in our project. Thank you for voting for your hopes and not your fears, and for a future which we can all be proud of.

We are happy to have retained the Western Cape. We thank those in that province for renewing our mandate there and I want to assure you that we will work hard there over the next five years, to extend more and more opportunities and services to all the residents of that province, not just to those who voted for us.

Where we govern, we will continue to do so to the very best of our ability

We are also pleased that the ANC has been brought below 60% for the first time in democratic South Africa. We hope this trend will continue, so that South Africa’s democracy can move beyond one-party dominance, and become a fully-fledged, mature democracy in which corruption and poor governance is held accountable.

Our loss of support nationally is a both a disappointment. We will reflect and evaluate the reasons for this and make the necessary changes. Ultimately, our mission to build a non-racial consensus at the very centre of SA’s politics in alive and well on track.

Let me be clear. The DA will continue to hold the constitutional line. We will continue to fight for the rule of law and for a market-driven economy. We will never give up working for a united, prosperous South Africa. I am 100% committed to this project. It is a massive responsibility, but it is worth each and every blow we may take along the way. We will soldier on and ultimately, we will be successful, because we stand on principle and for what is right.

So now we will work harder than every before. We will work to win support for our vision of a united, prosperous South Africa in which Black, White, Coloured and Indian work together in the knowledge that we are better together. This has always been our mission and it will always be our mission. And we will work with all those who share this vision.

We will be working towards the local government elections of 2021 with vigour and energy. We are energised by the knowledge that we are doing the right thing. Over the past quarter century, we have established a solid foundation for growth. We have held the centre and we will build on that foundation.

Exactly four years ago to the day, I was elected to lead the Democratic Alliance. On that day, I inherited a party that was on its way to becoming a governing party of the future – a, non-racial party at the centre of building and realising the dreams, hopes and aspirations of all South Africans. I have taken responsibility for this project and I will continue to fight for it each and every day.

Today I am proud to say that the DA I lead is rapidly building upon this mandate – growing across racial, cultural, language and culture divides in many communities across the country.

Breaking the stranglehold of a liberation movement on our people is the fight of our lives, and this fight is no easy task. Never before in the history of our country – or our continent – has this brave and valiant dream been achieved. It promises to be filled with valleys and mountain tops, with highs and lows. But I am confident today that in the end we will be triumphant, in achieving what is difficult but possible – building One South Africa for All.

Indeed, the realignment of politics in South Africa is now well underway. Our history is one of division – a history of competing forms of nationalism. And breaking out of that way of thinking will take time. But we are not deterred.

While change is uncomfortable, change is required if we are to achieve the dream of building One South Africa for All. Shifts in the electoral landscape, and in support levels for different parties is a natural part of what our project requires. This means that the electorate is fluid and everchanging – something we haven’t seen in our young democracy.

Today, the DA I lead has diversified its support to never-before seen levels. From race to culture, from language to religion – we are holding the moderate non-racial centre ground. We remain the only party that is attracting all South Africans – Black, White, Coloured and Indian – coalescing around our shared values of Freedom, Fairness, Opportunity and Diversity.

And we’ve shown this. In terms of growth amongst black South Africans, the DA is set to grow in 7 of the 9 provinces. This is not by chance, but by change. By focusing on a compelling offer that speaks to all South Africans. In contrast the ANC under Cyril Ramaphosa is at its weakest its ever been.  Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered the ANC a worse result than Jacob Zuma. The ANC is also fighting hard to keep a majority in Gauteng – the economic heartland of South Africa.

We cannot run away from the ANC’s legacy of stagnant economic growth and rampant corruption. The stark reality is that resources are scarce and drying up. Opportunity is limited chiefly due to ANC corruption and an inability to manage and grow our economy.

The reality is that people are scared, and many are resorting and retreating back to what they’ve always known. People are organising into the familiar – grouping of those who look like us, sound like us, or pray like us. This is not our fault, but a lingering legacy of our past which must be defeated.

However, as a nation, we cannot respond to nationalism and radicalism with more radicalism and more nationalism, be it in South Africa, or in so many countries around the world where these forces are on the rise. The counter to increasing nationalism, division and radical populism is unity and principled politics. And this is what the DA stands for.

The sad reality is while the posters come down, the campaign buses are decommissioned and the sloganeering ends, the harsh conditions under which the majority of South Africans live under still remain, and as the DA we will continue to fight for them.

Where we occupy the opposition benches, we will hold those in power accountable; where we are in government, we will use our power responsibility to ensure that services are delivered, our people are cared for and that we build a working and inclusive economy.

Change that builds One South Africa for All is not just a slogan, it’s a call to action which we will apply in all we do going forward. When we adopt budgets in governments where must ask “will this bring change that builds One South Africa for All?” When we stand up as MPs and MPLs in opposition we will put forward credible alternatives that build One South Africa for All.

We now look forward to the local government elections in 2021 where we look on track to win more municipalities and bring our track record of good, clean governance to millions of more South Africans.

Our project has arisen. While it is easy to shout divisive slogans and make unachievable promises, it is much tougher to build a principled organisation for the future.

We will continue to build a non-racial alternative at the centre of SA’s politics. We will work to bring more and more people on board, and to win back those who have left us. Always, we will work to build a united, prosperous South Africa. We will never lose hope for the future and we will never give up.