DA reaffirms its commitment to South Africa’s LGBTIQ+ community

At the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) recent Federal Congress, the Party passed two resolutions for the protection of the LGBTIQ+ community with huge majorities. The first resolution by Sakhile Mngadi and Mbali Ntuli calls on the President to proclaim a department within the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) dedicated to investigating hate crimes aimed at the LGBTIQ+ community.

In the second resolution by myself and DA councillor, Caelee Laing, the Congress voted to promote legislation to make conversion therapy of LGBTIQ+ youth under the age of 18 illegal.

Conversion therapy is a range of discredited practices that claim to change a person’s sexual orientation. Such practices have been rejected by mainstream medical and mental health organisations, but due to continuing discrimination, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy. Minors are especially vulnerable, and conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide.

Cllr Laing told delegates that the concept of conversion therapy goes against everything the DA stands for and that people should be allowed to be who they are.

I also stated because the DA respects the law, we should allow adults to decide for themselves, but that we have a duty to protect our children.

The DA has always led the way when it comes to fighting for the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community, and will continue to do so.

The large margins with which these resolutions passed shows that the DA as a whole remains committed to ensuring that the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community of South Africa is respected and protected.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

Diplomatic touch needed to solve LA consul’s housing woes

The Democratic Alliance (DA) urges the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to follow due process and launch a proper investigation into the woes of finding Los Angeles consul-general Thandile Sunduza a suitable home, as reported in the Sunday Times over the weekend.

The DA has already submitted parliamentary questions to DIRCO Minister Naledi Pandor in this regard in an effort to lay bare the facts behind allegations from both Sunduza and senior consular official Shadrack Nepfumbada, who has accused the consul-general of gross incompetence.

It is vital that this matter is handled with tact and grace as it will have an impact on South Africa’s international image.

It is clear that the tension between the consul-general and the official have been building for some time, and that a diplomatic touch would be needed to diffuse a matter between the politically connected Sunduza and the well decorated and well served Nepfumbada.

Adding insult to injury, the DA understands that DIRCO itself has been marred in leadership controversies with consultancy reports never seeing the light of day, from one Minister to the next. Between the Director-General (DG) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is an organogram so disorganized that should those two positions suddenly falter, it would be difficult to find an immediate succession plan.

It is hardly surprising that the drama in Los Angeles is brought to light just before a report on the New York property is to be released. These South African sagas being played on an international stage are symptoms that reflects a dearth of improvisation and collaboration to get from one crisis to the next, where political appointees are pitted against career diplomats, while South African citizens continue to suffer while the government maintains its grip on our purse. It is the same script, the same directors.

It is high time that the Foreign Services Bill were implemented as it would ensure fairness to both diplomats and officials during investigations into matters such as these. If you are to recall an official as requested by members of the committee, then you must recall the consul-general too. It is essential to establish the Ambassador and the Director of the American branch’s roles in the situation. Why did DIRCO leadership fail us over the last few months in this regard?

The DA will not allow the offering of scapegoats – there must be a clear understanding of the roles of all the actors in this scene. Fairness and opportunity will speak over loyalty and fear.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

DA condemns burning of cross highlighting farm attacks in Brits

Click here for soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Jacqueline Theologo, DA North West Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in North West condemns in the strongest terms the burning of a cross highlighting the plight of farm attacks and farm murders in Brits, Madibeng Local Municipality, allegedly by Madibeng FM journalist, Nick Motloung.

The behaviour by journalist Nick Motloung is completely unnecessary. Especially in light of the constant onslaught farmers and farmer workers face daily in North West and South Africa. His explanation that these crosses cause hatred is unfounded.

Journalists are supposed to report the news and not create or become the news. This behaviour goes against all journalistic ethics. Nick Motloung used the video of the burning of the cross on his Facebook Page for marketing his Drive Talkshow (see picture here). It is in terribly bad taste.

These crosses are erected to draw attention to the plight of farmers and farmworkers all over South Africa. It is a call for government to recognise the scourge of brutal violence rural communities are subjected to and for government to act to ensure the safety and security of farmers and farmworkers. The crosses also serve as memorials for all farmers and farmworkers who have lost their lives in their efforts to put food on the tables of South Africans.

The farming communities in and around Brits and Hartbeespoort have been subjected to an onslaught of brutal farm attacks over the last couple of months that saw both farmers and farm workers shot and assaulted.

Many memorial crosses dot the landscape throughout South Africa, especially along our roads and highways where people have lost their lives in car crashes. No compassionate South African would dare to vandalise these structures.

It is unacceptable that crosses honouring the victims of farm attacks are now being burned.

The burning of crosses, or any religious symbol for that matter, seeks only to cause violence. There is no place for this behaviour in South Africa.

The DA adopted a resolution calling for the recognition of farm attacks as a priority hate crime at our Federal Congress this weekend with 97% of all delegates supporting the resolution. The DA stands behind all farmers and farmworkers and we will continue to fight for their safety, security and recognition.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

DA will fight for language rights

Please see English, isiZulu and Afrikaans versions of the statement follow below. 


DA will fight for language rights

Sunday, 1 November 2020, was a historic day for the speakers of all 11 of South Africa’s official languages. During the Federal Congress of the Democratic Alliance (DA), delegates unanimously affirmed the Party’s commitment to champion the constitutional right of all citizens to study in their mother language at public schools and universities across the country. The text of the resolution was adopted in isiZulu, Afrikaans and English after being proposed by eThekwini councillor, Thabani Mthethwa, and Member of Parliament, Dr Leon Schreiber.

The Congress unanimously resolved that “the right to mother tongue education where reasonably practicable is a non-negotiable and fundamental element of the Bill of Rights, and is no less important than any other constitutional right.”

Going forward and both in government as well as in opposition, the DA will take “urgent and active steps to expand access to mother tongue education at every institution where it is reasonably practicable.” Even more important is the undertaking that the state must “significantly expand investment in developing all of South Africa’s official languages to ensure that mother tongue education becomes ‘reasonably practicable’ in public primary schools, universities and all other public training institutions across the country.”

This is a watershed moment for language rights in South Africa.

Rather than expanding access to mother language education, the ANC has dramatically reduced access to mother tongue education. This has happened despite the Constitution’s commitment that everyone has the right to receive education in the language of their choice. It also flies in the face of overwhelming international evidence, which clearly shows that mother tongue education is critical to educational success.

The reason why language rights are under assault in South Africa is because of a lack of political will to defend and promote these rights. Unfortunately, in recent years, the DA too did not always defend the right to mother language education as vigorously as we could have. For too long, the people did not have a political champion on their side to fight for their language rights.

That chapter came to a conclusive end on Sunday. As a result of the adoption of the language rights resolution, the DA now proudly stands alongside all people who are being prevented from reaching their full potential simply because they are unable to learn and study in the language that they understand best.

As the resolution makes clear, the first step in the DA’s battle for the speakers of South African languages is to ensure that mother tongue education is defended and reinstated in institutions where it is already reasonably practicable. It is for this reason that the DA will shortly launch an unprecedented campaign aimed at making Afrikaans equal with English at Stellenbosch University, where an indigenous South African language was apparently removed for political reasons and where mother-tongue instruction is already “reasonably practicable.”

But this is only the start. On the long journey that lies ahead in our fight to practically implement the constitutional right to mother language instruction, the DA will use every tool at our disposal to make access to education in all official languages “reasonably practicable” at many more schools and universities in South Africa. As a party that treasures diversity and is deeply committed to expanding opportunities to all citizens, Sunday’s resolution makes it clear that the DA now proudly stands with all South Africans who wish to express their rights as free people in the language of their choice.


I-DA izolwela amalungelo olimi

Ngesonto mhla lulunye kuLwezi (November) 2020, kwaqopheka umlando kuzozonke izilimi eziyishumi nanye ezisemthethweni kulelizwe. Ngesikhathi sengqungquthela kazwelonke ye Democratic Alliance (DA), izithunywa zavumelana ngo elethu ekuzinikeleni kweqembu ekuhambeni phambili ekufuqeni ilungelo elichitshiyelwe kuMthethosisekelo wezwe wokuthi zonke izakhamuzi zifunde ngolwimi lwazo ezikoleni zikahulumeni nasemanyuvesi kulolonke izwe. Lesisiphakamisa savunywa ngolwimi lwesiZulu, olwe Afrikaans nolwesiNgisi emva kokuphakanyiswa ikhansela laseThekwini uThabani Mthethwa kanye nelungu lephalamende, u Dkt u Leon Schreiber.

Ingqungquthela ivumelene  ukuthi ilungelo lokufunda ngolwimi lwasekhaya lapho kungenzeka khona, kumele lisetshenziswe ngaphandle kokungabaza kanti futhi lokhu kuyingxenye emqoka ye Bill of Rights ngaphansi komthethosisekelo wezwe futhi kumqoka njengawowonke amalungelo ashicilelwe kuMthethosisekelo wezwe.

Uma kuyiwa phambili, lapho iDA iwuhulumeni khona noma iyiqembu eliphikisayo, I DA izothatha izinyathelo ezisheshayo zokusabalalisa ulwimi lwebele ezikhungweni zemfundo lapho lokhu kungenzeka khona. Okumqoka kakhulu ilokho kokuthi umbuso kuzomele usabalalise ukutshala kwawo ekuthuthukisweni kwazozonke izilimu ezisemthethweni kuleli ukuqinisekisa ukuthi ulimi lwebele luyasetshenziswa emabangeni aphansi ezikole zikahulumeni, isemanyuvesi kanye nakuzozonke izikhungo zikahulumeni zokuqeqesha ezweni lonkana.

Lena ingqophamlando  odabeni lwelungelo lezilimi eNingizimu Africa.

Kunokuthi kusatshalaliswe ukufundiswa ngolwimi lwebele esikhundleni i-ANC ivele yathusa ngokuthi yehlise ukuthi kufundiswe ngalo. Lokhu bakwenza yize umthethosisekelo ukugqamisa ukuthi abantu banelungelo lokufunda ngolwimi abalufunayo. Lokhu kuphikisana ngisho nobufakazi obuvela emazweni omhlaba obutshengisa ngokusobala ukuthi ukufunda ngolimi lwebele kumqoka ukuqinisekisa impumelelo kwezemfundo.

Okwenza amalungelo olwimi lwebele acindezeleke eNingizimu Afrika ingoba abaholi bezombusazwe abazimisele ukukulwela loludaba nokuvikela lelilungelo. Ngebhadi, nathi njengeDA sehlulekile ukulwela ilungelo lokusebenzisa ulimi lwebele ngendlela ekwakumele silulwele ngayo. Sesiside isikhathi lapho abantu bengenaye ozolwela ukusetshenziswa kolimi lwebele.

Lesisigaba sifinyelele emaphethelweni ngeSonto. Njengoba sesivumelene ngokulwela ilungelo lokusetshenziswa kolimi lwebele, NjengeDA sizimisele ukulwela bonke labo abebevinjwe ukufinyelelela kokukhulu ngenxa nje yengqinamba yokungakwazi ukufunda nokufundiswa ngolwimi abaluqondayo

Njengoba isiphakamiso sicacile nje bha, isinyathelo sokuqala se DA esokulwela ukuthi izilwimi ezikhulunywa kuleli ziyavikelwa futhi zibuyiselwe ezikhungweni zemfundo lapho kungenzeka khona. Ilesisizathu esizokwenza ukuthi maduze nje iDA yethule umkhankaso okuhloswe ngawo ukwenza ulwimi lwe Afrikaans lulingane nolwe English enyuvesi yaseStellenbosch, lapho ulimi lwendabuko lwaseNingizimu Africa lasuswa ngenxa yezombusazwe nalapho ulwimi lwebele lungakwazi ukusetshenziswa khona

Kodwa lesi kuseyisiqala nje. Iseyimde indlela eya phambili empini yethu yokuthi ilungelo lokusebenzisa ulimi elichitshiyelwe kumthethosisekelo wezwe lethulwe ngokuphelele, I DA izosebenzisa zonke izindlela ukwenza ukuthi ezemfundo zifundwe ngolimi lwebele lezilimu zakuleli ezisemthethweni eziyishumi nanye ezikoleni eziningi namanyuvesi akuleli. Njengeqembu elihlonipha kakhulu ukwehlukana nelizinikele kakhulu ekwandiseni amathuba kuzozonke izakhamuzi, isinqumo sangeSonto sicacisa bha ukuthi iDA iyaziqhenya ukuma nabantu baseNingizimu Africa abafisa ukudlulisa imizwa yabo njengabantu abakhululekile ngolwimi olukhethwa yibo.


DA sal baklei vir taalregte

Sondag 1 November 2020 was ’n historiese dag vir die sprekers van al 11 amptelike tale van Suid-Afrika.

Gedurende die Federale Kongres van die Demokratiese Alliansie (DA) het afgevaardigdes die Party se verbintenis  tot die beywering vir alle burgers se grondwetlike reg om in hul moedertaal aan openbare skole en universiteite regoor die land te studeer, aanvaar.

Die teks van die resolusie is in isiZulu, Afrikaans en Engels aangeneem nadat dit deur die eThekwini-raadslid, Thabani Mthethwa, en die parlementslid, dr Leon Schreiber, voorgestel is.

Die Kongres het besluit dat die reg op moedertaalonderrig, waar dit redelik uitvoerbaar is, ’n ononderhandelbare en fundamentele element van die Handves van Regte is, en nie minder belangrik as enige ander grondwetlike reg is nie.

Die DA sal voortaan dringende en aktiewe stappe neem om toegang tot moedertaalonderrig by elke instelling waar dit redelik uitvoerbaar is, uit te brei. Nog belangriker is die onderneming dat die staat “die belegging in die ontwikkeling van al die amptelike tale van Suid-Afrika aansienlik moet uitbrei om te verseker dat moedertaalonderrig ‘redelik uitvoerbaar’ word in openbare laerskole, universiteite en alle ander openbare opleidingsinstellings regoor die land.”

Dit is ’n waterskeidingsoomblik vir taalregte in Suid-Afrika.

In plaas daarvan om toegang tot moedertaalonderrig uit te brei, het die ANC die toegang daartoe dramaties verminder. Dít ten spyte van die grondwet se verbintenis dat elkeen die reg het om onderrig te ontvang in die taal van hul keuse. Dit is ook teenstrydig met oorweldigende internasionale navorsing wat duidelik toon dat moedertaalonderrig van kritieke belang is vir opvoedkundige sukses.

Die rede waarom taalregte in Suid-Afrika aangeval word, is die gebrek aan politieke wil om hierdie regte te verdedig en te bevorder. Die DA het ongelukkig ook nie die afgelope jare altyd die reg op moedertaalonderrig ten beste verdedig nie. Taalregte het vir lank nie ’n behoorlike politieke kampioen gehad nie.

Dié hoofstuk het egter Sondag tot ‘n beslissende einde gekom. Die DA veg nou trots vir alle mense wat verhoed word om hul volle potensiaal te bereik, bloot omdat hulle nie in staat is om te leer en te studeer in die taal wat hulle die beste verstaan ​​nie.

Soos in die resolusie duidelik gemaak word, is die eerste stap in die DA se stryd die verdediging van moedertaalonderrig en die instelling daarvan in instansies waar dit redelik uitvoerbaar is. Dit is om hierdie rede dat die DA binnekort ’n veldtog gaan loods om Afrikaans aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch gelyk aan Engels te stel. Afrikaans as inheemse Suid-Afrikaanse taal is blykbaar om politieke redes daar verwyder, maar die herinstelling van moedertaalonderrig by die Universiteit is steeds redelik uitvoerbaar.

Maar dit is net die begin. Die DA sal alles in die stryd werp om die grondwetlike reg op moedertaalonderrig prakties te implementer en om toegang tot onderwys in alle amptelike tale “redelik uitvoerbaar” by baie meer skole en universiteite in Suid-Afrika te maak. As ’n party wat diversiteit koester en diep daartoe verbind is om geleenthede vir alle burgers uit te brei, maak die resolusie van Sondag dit duidelik dat die DA saam met alle Suid-Afrikaners ​​wat hul reg wil beoefen om hulself in die taal van hul keuse uit te druk, staan.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

Supreme Court dismissal of Procurement Regulations of 2017 a victory against BBBEE corruption

The decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to set aside the Preferential Procurement Regulations of 2017 and declare them invalid is a welcome development. The application of so-called “pre-qualification criteria” was one of the biggest drivers of corruption in public procurement, under the fig leaf of BBBEE and ‘empowerment’. The judgment will help to combat corruption and end uncompetitive exclusion of suppliers.

In an appeal case brought by non-profit organisation, Afribusiness, the SCA found that the Minister of Finance (Pravin Gordhan at the time) acted illegal and exceeded his powers when he used section 5 of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework to introduce the Preferential Procurement Regulations of 2017. The regulations were therefore declared invalid as a result of their inconsistency with the provisions of the procurement policy framework.

The judgment has far-reaching consequences for public procurement in South Africa as it casts doubt on the continued use of BBBEE pre-qualification criteria. Business owners with competitively priced high-quality products have repeatedly been denied the opportunity to do business with government because of the exclusionary requirement to meet a pre-determined threshold of BBBEE scores.

In addition to engendering exclusion, the use of pre-qualifying criteria has in the past resulted in the arbitrary application of BBBEE criteria, inflation of prices from the limited pool of suppliers and corruption. Some suppliers have continued to use BBBEE’s exclusion criteria to constantly benefit from government tenders whilst denying access to new entrants.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will continue to set the example where we govern of public procurement that is transparent, corruption-free, competitive, and respectful of public money.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

SAA: DA rejects banks’ R3.6bn bridging finance

The Democratic Alliance (DA) rejects the decision by Nedbank and four other South African banks to make R3.6 billion bridging finance available to South African Airways (SAA) whilst the airline await payment of the R10.5 billion taxpayer bailout proposed by the Minister of Finance. Tito Mboweni, in his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement last week. This was revealed in a Sunday Times report over the weekend.

Nedbank and the other unnamed banks will be participating in what many South Africans see as an unethical and immoral use of very limited taxpayer funds and must expect reputational damage to come their way. It would be dishonest for these banks to fund massive severance packages for a bankrupt SAA and not for other bankrupt businesses such as SA Express and private businesses.

Unlike SAA and SA Express which have been looted and mismanaged, private businesses face the economic consequences of the ANC-imposed Covid-19 lockdown that has devastated the South African economy and created unemployment levels never before seen in the country.

Parliament has yet to approve the outrageous R10.5 billion taxpayer bailout to SAA and the DA will continue to oppose such a bailout by Parliament. We also urge the public to write to Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance to give their public input into Minister Mboweni’s budget speech and to raise their objection to this bailout. Parliament must take the views of the public into account in passing this budget.

We also urge opposition parties and ANC MPs in the National Assembly to act in the best interests of desperately unemployed and starving South Africans and call on them to reject the R10.5 billion SAA bailout.

In the end, if the R10.5 billion SAA taxpayer bailout is rejected by all clear thinking MPs, we trust that there will have been no further government guarantees issued and that the South African banks who foolishly loan R3.6 billion to SAA understand that it will be these banks clients and shareholders who will carry the can.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

Minister Nxesi must speak up on UIF Ters extension

The Democratic Alliance notes with concern reports that the National Command Council (NCC) has unilaterally decided not to extend the Covid-19 Ters benefit scheme beyond 15 October.

This is despite the fact that the national State of Disaster for Covid-19 has been extended to 15 November and that many workers will not be able to work for full pay under Level 1 of lockdown.

The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, must take the nation into his confidence and communicate clearly about the future of the Ters benefit. Organised business and labour have been in ongoing, careful discussions about the possible extension of the benefit at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Their work has now seemingly been unstitched by the shadowy NCC, which has charged into the arena like a bull in a china shop and single-handedly imposed a fiat when the outcome should be the product of collaborative decision-making.

This undermines good governance and underlines the arrogant and authoritarian nature of the NCC, which regards itself above oversight and accountability.

Since the government has seen fit to extend the lockdown (despite the disastrous economic consequences) and thereby deprived many workers of earning their full income, it has a duty to extend the Ters scheme in order to cover the shortfall.

If the government wants to take away with one hand, then it must be ready to provide with the other.

Minister Nxesi should make a public statement about the extension of the Ters benefit today.

Get to know newly elected DA leader, John Steenhuisen, and invest in the 2021 Local Government Election campaign. Click here.

DA Federal Congress reaffirms DA’s commitment to tackling crime and decentralising the police

The Democratic Alliance (DA) adopted various new policy resolutions dealing with different aspects of crime within communities at our Federal Congress over the weekend.

One of the most important resolutions deals with the decentralization of the South African Police Service (SAPS). This resolution seeks to move power from national government to provincial and municipal levels to better serve local communities. Of utmost importance is also the training of police officers and capacitating of police stations to better deal with gender-based violence plaguing communities.

The decentralization of SAPS will put the power where it truly belongs – on provincial and municipal level with officers who are entrenched in and a part of the communities they serve. It will ensure that the right equipment and expertise is present where it’s needed most. This approach is of most use to the safety and security of communities.

The DA is committed to safeguarding communities in this way, unlike the ANC government who seeks to centralise power within national government.

The draft SAPS Amendment Bill proves this. Unlike the DA, the ANC through this Bill, is attempting to affect an unconstitutional power-grab by centralizing policing in the office the Minister of Police.

Since the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown, there have been numerous farm murders and attacks. There have been multitudes of incidents of gender-based violence. There has been a legion of other serious and petty crimes that will have no hope of ever being stifled if local police stations are disempowered with the SAPS Service Amendment Bill.

Communities in South Africa are in crisis due to ever increasing crime rates. They need solutions that will benefit and serve them, not remove the little power they have left.

We commend the delegates at the DA Federal Congress for once again reaffirming the DA’s commitment to not only keep our streets safe but also to decentralising the police and putting power back in the hands of our communities and the local men and women in blue.

Farm murders: DA draws a clear line in the sand

On Sunday morning, 1 November 2020, during the Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Congress, delegates unanimously supported a policy resolution that farm attacks and murders be declared a hate crime and a priority crime category.

The Members of Parliament, Provincial Legislatures and Councillors who form part of the DA Workstream on Farm Attacks and Rural Safety are deeply pleased that the Federal Congress voted unanimously for this resolution to pass. The resolution seeks to ensure harsher sentences if prosecutors prove that the motive for the crime was hatred or contempt based on the victim’s identity as a farmer or farm worker.

When first we spoke out about farm murders in 2006, the President, government and the ANC ignored these increasingly brutal attacks and continued to do so until we launched our 16-point targeted campaign 6 months ago.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) plans have failed black and white farmers,  farm workers, their wives, children and parents who are four times more likely to be murdered than the average South African.

The situation on farms and rural communities again came to the spotlight when Police Minister, Bheki Cele, forbade all farm patrols during the lockdown. The nation watched in horror as farm attacks inevitably soared. Minister Cele does not care about rural lives as recently he was missing in action while three of our provinces were on fire, straight after the EFF called on its members to burn the farmers. It was again left to the DA to lay charges in this regard.

Our rural communities are under enormous threat. In the last 10 years some 612 of these farmers and farm workers have been murdered, with at least 2 818 recorded attacks – leaving many maimed, raped, crippled or blinded. Rural communities are vulnerable to the most heinous form of attacks. Due to the isolation of rural communities attackers have the time to hone their craft, boil their oil, heat the irons and sharpen their machetes, often leaving without taking anything at all.

In light of these atrocities, we thank the DA Federal Congress delegates for giving absolute support to this resolution, which not only seeks to declare farm attacks as a hate and priority crimes, but also seeks area specific rural safety plans to be drawn up for every rural police district in South Africa, and that at local station level, rural community policing units be established for every police station that serves at least one rural sector.

The DA has drawn a line in the sand, by supporting this resolution. We have reaffirmed our commitment to ensure that all South Africans are afforded equal protection and safety by government and SAPS as determined in our Constitution.

If you are in a position to help fund our Court Watching Briefs Unit which closely monitors every farm attack court case to ensure attackers end up behind bars, please make a donation here.

Hope is on the Horizon

Please see below the acceptance speech by the newly-elected Federal Leader of the Democratic Alliance, John Steenhuisen.

Fellow South Africans,

I cannot think of a more fitting place from which to speak with you today than this beautiful City of eThekwini.

Twenty-one years ago, I made my way up the steps of the Durban City Hall for the very first time, as the city’s youngest ever elected councillor.

Back then – as today – many people asked me why I decided to go into politics.

My answer today is the same as it has always been: because I love my party, and I love my country.

I have travelled a long road in the DA.

I fought to fix potholes in the roads when I was a councillor.

I exposed corruption when I was a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature.

I held presidents accountable as a member of Parliament.

But never in my wildest imagination did I believe I would one day lead this great party, the Democratic Alliance.

When I first became a DP activist at the age of nineteen, I did so because I knew it was a party with a proud history of fighting to give power to the people of South Africa.

A party that waged a lone battle in Parliament against the evil Apartheid regime.

A party that was instrumental in the drafting of our nation’s liberal democratic Constitution.

A party that grew from a handful of seats in Parliament to become the official opposition.

In the years since, the DA has grown to become a party that governs cities and municipalities across the country, as well as a province.

And it is a party that will one day be at the core of a national government that will fix and unlock the boundless potential of this country.

Thank you to each and every DA delegate, and to every member of my campaign teams across the country, for the trust you have placed in me.

I am deeply humbled by your support.

Thank you also to my wife, Terry, and to my family who are all here today in the city where I grew up.

I know that you have all sacrificed so much to help me pursue my dream of serving South Africa.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to my colleague in this leadership race.

Mbali, you did not make this an easy race. You fought me every step of the way, and you never gave up.

In doing so, you helped entrench a proud democratic tradition in our party: that we don’t anoint leaders here; we elect them.

We choose our leaders on the basis of their ideas, the content of their character and their potential to lead our party into new territory. Long may this democratic tradition continue.

However, I did not run to become the leader of the DA for its own sake.

I am here because I want to take the DA to greater heights in our fight for a country where each and every citizen has the power to build a dignified life.

Today, I stand before you even more determined and energized than I was when I first climbed those stairs in front of City Hall.

The task ahead of us will not be an easy one.

Our country is in serious trouble, and the stakes have never been higher.

When I look around me, I see despair and desperation; poverty and hunger. I see politicians blaming each other for what’s gone wrong, while people suffer.

All of this is happening despite the fact that the vast majority of South Africans are warm-hearted, honest and hard-working people trying to build a future for their families.

We are not a nation of thieves and criminals beset on destroying our country.

And yet, each and every one of us are exposed to thievery, criminality and decline on a daily basis.

As we journey through life, many of us no longer lift our heads to the horizon, because we are too scared of what we may see waiting in our future.

How is it that this nation of hard-working and peace-loving people knows neither prosperity nor peace?

The people of South Africa thought that democracy would put them in charge; that the people would govern. “All power to the people” was the cry.

Instead, people now feel further and further away from where power lies.

Over the past quarter of a century, you have been robbed of your destiny, your dreams held hostage to bureaucrats and central planners.

Just think of any problem you encounter in your daily life. At the root of it you will find a state that is utterly incapable and corrupt, yet absolutely hellbent on telling you what to do.

People don’t have electricity in their homes because government insists on a state monopoly for power generation.

People are poor because government crushes entrepreneurship, growth and job creation.

Excessive state control is the reason why people can no longer take the train to work, and why the government would rather spend the little tax money that’s left to fund an airline that we do not need.

People who are destitute and vulnerable may soon stop receiving social grants because corruption is bankrupting the state.

In every domain of your life, the incapable state is in the way of you getting ahead.

And what is the government’s solution to the problems caused by excessive state control?

Their solution is even more state control. Because the more the central planners fail, the more furiously the central planners plan.

And so we face the prospect of the state taking away private property.

In the future you may longer be able to take out private medical insurance.

And there is the very real fear that the pension you spent a lifetime saving will be taken from you.

No longer content with controlling you, the government now wants to own you. They are coming for your home, your health, and your savings.

The good news is that the people of South Africa are starting to reject state control.

People do not want to live a life of dependency on a failing and corrupt state. People are tired of being told what to do by rulers who only look out for themselves.

People want to stand on their own two feet as self-reliant, autonomous human beings. They want the power and the freedom to make their own choices and build a life they value.

This is what the DA will offer under my leadership. People power.

We will fight to give power and opportunities to every law-abiding, honest and hard-working citizen – regardless of their background – to build a life they value.

As the DA’s Constitution so eloquently puts it: “Our party is uniquely founded on faith in the South African people.”

People have sometimes had endless debates about the meaning of liberalism in today’s world.

But, for me, liberalism in its purest form is a commitment to give power to the people so that they can decide for themselves how to build lives of value.

This means building a capable state that protects citizens from harms like violent crime, and delivers the quality education, healthcare and other services that all people need to unlock opportunity.

We will take power away from the state and put it in the hands of the people, where it rightfully belongs.

The one thing that unites South Africans above all else is the desire to determine one’s own destiny.

We have many problems in this country. But the people of South Africa is not one of them.

There is nothing wrong with South Africa that cannot be fixed with all that is good about South Africans.

From the Uber driver in Soweto to the nurse in Mthatha and the farmer in Vredendal, the people yearn for a government that provides things like good schools, clean drinking water, a sustainable safety net for the vulnerable, and a reliable electricity supply so that they can pursue their own dreams in life.

They want a leg up from a caring and effective government, not handouts from a failing state.

And if you are looking for proof of just how committed this reinvigorated DA is to fighting on the side of the people rather than the state, look no further than the way we fought for you during the lockdown crisis.

When the national government tried to make it impossible for you to earn a living while their cadres embarked on a massive looting spree, the DA stood alone in defence of the people.

We were the first to reject the brutal hard lockdown.

We fought for justice for Collins Khoza and the dozens of other citizens brutalised and killed by the state.

We forced the state to keep soup kitchens open and allow hungry children to be fed.

In the Western Cape we built hospitals of hope, while other provinces sent people to hospitals of horror.

During the lockdown crisis, the DA offered practical and constructive alternatives which would have saved countless people from unnecessary suffering.

In the midst of the greatest crisis that has faced our country in a generation, the DA has revealed that our character is stronger than ever.

That we can be a powerful force for positive change when we implement solutions based on our principles.

But I must also be frank with you. We have made mistakes.

There were moments in our recent past when the DA looked for populist shortcuts and failed to offer clear solutions to the decline caused by state control.

There have been times when the DA failed to be a dependable ally in the people’s fight for power.

For a while, we lost sight of who we were and what we offer: clear, principled and decisive leadership.

Fortunately, mistakes don’t have to be fatal – provided you learn from them.

Over the past year, we embarked on a journey of introspection to fix that which was broken in our party.

Precisely because we had the courage to face up to our mistakes, I can tell you today that the days of breaking trust with South Africans are well and truly over.

Under my leadership, the DA will never again turn our back on our core principles.

We are a liberal party committed to non-racialism, a market economy, and a capable state that empowers citizens and cares for the vulnerable.

We have always been at our strongest – and achieved our best results – when we stood strong on these principles.

Our task now is to show how our policies can lift 13 million people out of unemployment and 30 million people out of poverty.

We are ready to show South Africa that another way is possible.

A better future beckons on the horizon under a DA government that will replace state control with people power.

A future marked by world-class service delivery in the towns and cities where we govern.

Schools staffed by dedicated professionals where every child is given the power to reach for the stars.

Hospitals that heal the sick and care for the most vulnerable members of society.

A rapidly growing economy that creates millions of jobs, because it is owned and controlled by the hard-working people of this country.

Empowerment that works for 30 million impoverished people, rather than for a predatory elite.

Going forward, we will evaluate every decision on the basis of a single question: does it give more power to politicians and bureaucrats, or does it give more power to the people?

Measuring every decision against this metric – and always choosing to empower the people rather than the state – holds the key to fixing South Africa.

The DA also has a clear roadmap for South Africa’s journey towards a horizon of hope.

Together, we must build a new majority in South African politics, with the DA at the heart of governments across the length and breadth of our beautiful country.

It can be done.

Just look to the City of Tshwane, where we took back control only two days ago.

As a result, the capital city of South Africa is once again governed by the Democratic Alliance.

Aside from giving us an opportunity to restore good governance in our country’s capital, our most recent victory in Tshwane offers two important lessons for the road ahead.

The first is that our opponents will stop at nothing to undermine our fight for people power.

Terrified by the prospect of losing control, the Gauteng provincial government used every dirty trick at their disposal to prevent the DA from delivering for the people of Tshwane.

The second lesson is that there simply are no shortcuts to victory.

It is only because we diligently fought the unconstitutional power grab in the courts for almost a year that we are now again able to bring change to the residents of Tshwane.

If we resolutely stick to our principles as we’ve recently done in Tshwane, there is a clear path to victory for the DA and people power for South Africa.

In addition to the dozens of municipalities where we already deliver world-class services as the party of government, another two dozen could have DA-led councils after the 2021 local election.

Five of them are in Gauteng, eleven are in the Northern Cape, and three are in the Eastern Cape.

We are also ready to unleash all of our firepower in the fight to get outright majorities in cities like Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.

A clear DA majority that avoids the need for coalitions is the best way to protect these metros from underhanded takeovers that disrupt and undermine service delivery.

By waging a principled fight for people power, we will reignite momentum and get the ANC out of power.

We’ve done it many times before. In Cape Town. In Midvaal. In the Western Cape. In Tshwane.

If we show that we are the party of people power, we can do it again. This time, we can do it all across South Africa.

Today, the DA alongside millions of ordinary South Africans, takes the first step on our journey towards a horizon of hope where power lies with the people, not with the corrupt and incapable state.

We know that the voyage will not be an easy one.

There will be plenty of obstacles, battles and mirages along the way.

But we also know that with each step we take, decline will be further behind us and hope will be nearer than ever.

I know that many of you are afraid of what the future holds. We can all feel the decline created by decades of ever-expanding state control.

I know that many South Africans are so scared that they stare only at the ground in front of them, just trying to put one foot in front of another.

But I stand before you today as the leader of a revitalised Democratic Alliance, to give you a reason to again lift your eyes up from the ground.

You are no longer alone.

History has proven that when hard-working and peace-loving South Africans from all backgrounds overcome our differences to unite in the quest for people power, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Together, the DA and the people of this country can take power back from the corrupt and incapable state that stole it away.

It does not matter which part of the country you come from, what language you speak, what background you have, or what community you belong to.

If you want to live in a country where you have the security and opportunities to build a life of value for you and your family, you have a home in the DA.

If you have been stuck in the unemployment queue for years, you have a home in the DA.

If you are tired of the corrupt politicians who have stolen your future, you have a home in the DA.

If you want your children to receive a quality education, you have a home in the DA.

If you are tired of a state that spends more on VIP security for politicians than on protecting the farmers who feed us all, you have a home in the DA.

We can win this battle to take power back from the state if as many people as possible rally to the cause.

Our first opportunity to begin wresting power away from those who seek to control us will come in less than one year from today, during the 2021 local government elections.

That is why I am asking you to get out there and register to vote DA in your local municipality.

Talk to your friends and relatives, who have given up on our country, about the DA’s vision for people power over state control.

Spread the word that the days of indecision and mixed-messaging are well and truly over, and that our country can be fixed if we elect a courageous DA government that will give power back to the people.

From this first step we take together today and during every mile of the journey that lies ahead, the DA proudly walks side-by-side with the people of this country.

Not a day longer will you have to walk with shoulders slumped.

Because now the DA walks alongside you – the people of South Africa – with our chins held high and our eyes focused – not on the many perils that confront us today – but on the horizon of hope that beckons tomorrow.

Thank you.