Change begins with all of us

Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered by the DA Leader during a public meeting in Atteridgeville to mark the start of the #Change19 National Tour. The Leader was joined by DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, DA Shadow Minister in the Presidency and Constituency Head, Sej Motau, Tshwane MMC for Human Settlements, Mandla Nkomo, and DA Gauteng North Regional Chairperson, Fred Nel.
My fellow South Africans
Life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.
If you are worried or angry about what you see around you, then you have to ask yourself: What have I done to change it?
Today I want to invite you to join hands with those who feel the same as you, so that we can do what needs to be done to get our country working again.
I know that our problems often seem too big to overcome. Rampant unemployment has shattered the dreams of millions and left entire communities struggling to get by from day to day.
More than half our people live below the poverty line. That’s 27 million people who have to survive on less than R780 a month.
11 million of them live below what is called the Food Poverty Line. This means they cannot even afford the minimum daily nutrition.
These are numbers that we should never, ever have to accept as good enough.
But this ANC government wants you to think they’re doing the best anyone can do – that this is, for now, as good as it will get.
They want you to accept that our economy can’t grow at even half a percent a year, that we have the highest youth unemployment rate in the world, and that more than a third of our people cannot find work.
According to the ANC they have done all they can do, and we must just tough it out until things get better.
Well let me tell you, I refuse to accept any of this.
I know we can tackle and beat poverty by creating opportunities for people to become truly financially independent.
I know we can change. But I also know we are going to have to do so without this ANC government.
The truth is, this ANC under Jacob Zuma doesn’t want change. Because change means giving up what you have in order to gain something else.
And this ANC has worked too hard to set up a network of corruption where everyone benefits. Where tenders go to friends, where cronies become billionaires and where the kickbacks flow like water.
They’re not going to give any of this up.
The good news, my fellow South Africans, is that there are enough of us to change this country without the ANC. We are everywhere, we just need to find each other.
We already took the first steps in last year’s municipal elections. Opposition parties in three metros found enough common ground to be able to say to the ANC: you are no longer needed here, we can do it without you.
And it’s not only political parties. NGOs are finding allies in business, churches are standing together with civil society.
Our country has transcended politics before to fight an unjust government. In the 1980’s the UDF united civic bodies, churches, students and workers to fight for a free and non-racial society.
Today we are once again seeing such a realignment – a Coalition of South Africans who have nothing in common other than a hunger to build a country that works for all its people.
South Africans who are not bound by race, by language, by religion or any other superficial “identity” that some like to label us with.
South Africans who share a common vision for our country, and who despise the selfish people with their wicked plans who stand in the way of our vision.
We just need to find each other to see how great our numbers really are.
Fellow South Africans, today marks the start of our #Change19 National Tour.
Over the next year I will visit communities in every province, where I will go door-to-door, conduct street meetings, town hall meetings, engage with the youth and speak to stakeholders in communities.
I will make it my mission to let South Africans know just how big our movement for change really is.
And when we go to the polls in 2019 to elect national and provincial governments, you will see that our movement – our Coalition of South Africa – will be unstoppable.
Together, we will be the change we want to see in South Africa. But for that to happen, many of you are going to have to be bold and do something you’ve never done before: You’re going to have to put your faith in the DA and not in the ANC.
That’s the only way this country will change. If the DA should disappoint you, then you must take your vote back and lend it to someone else. But first give us a chance.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
Please join me in making South Africa the country we all know it can be..
Ke a leboga. Thank you.