Please find below a speech delivered today by the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen at the “We Can Win Rally” in Howick KwaZulu Natal.
Good afternoon, fellow Democrats, fellow South Africans,
It is great to be with you here in beautiful Howick, one of my favourite places on Earth. I have so many great memories of time spent here. I hope to make many more in the years to come.
And this is the thing. Now is the time to think hard about the years to come.
What do you want Howick and the other towns and areas of Umngeni to look like in the years to come?
In 10 days’ time, every voter in Umngeni will have to make a decision that could make or break this municipality.
It’s one second to make that cross, and five years to live with the consequences.
Luckily for Umngeni voters, their choice is what is commonly known as a “no-brainer”. Meaning it’s an easy choice to make.
It’s a two horse race here, between the DA and the ANC.
In 2016, the DA won 10 seats in your 23-seat council and the ANC won the other 13. No other party came close to getting a single seat.
It doesn’t get more two-horse race than that.
A two-horse race between a strong young work-horse and a lame old rocking horse.
A two-horse race between DA delivery and ANC decline.
A municipality that cares, and a municipality that couldn’t care less. Taps that run, and taps that run dry. Street lights that work, and street lights that don’t. Potholes that get filled, and potholes that get bigger. Businesses that thrive, and businesses that leave.
It really is that simple.
The DA gets things done. The ANC lets things slide.
The DA spends your money on you. The ANC spends your money on the ANC.
The DA delivers. The ANC desserts.
The good news is that the DA can win this race. We only need to take two seats off the ANC to have a full majority here in Umngeni.
We need to shift just 2500 votes to win those two extra seats.
And there are two big reasons why the DA should and can and will win those two extra seats off the ANC.
One, because the ANC has given up on Umngeni.
Two, because the DA is ready and eager to get things done in Umngeni.
The ANC has already given people countless reasons not to vote them back into government here.
They’ve made it clear they don’t care about the people living here.
For years, they’ve promised houses to the people of Shiyabazali Informal Settlement. Yet they have not built one single house there or anywhere in this municipality in the last five years. Not one house.
For years, the farmworkers in Karkloof have asked for the basics – water, toilets, electricity, roads. They are always the last to get anything at all. Soccer fields at Yarrow and Loskop, for example, are small things that could make a big difference.
For years, the residents of Hilton have asked to get off the broken Msunduzi power grid.
But the ANC here can’t be bothered.
They charge some of the highest rates in the country. But they can’t be bothered to answer your calls or your pleas.
They can’t be bothered to get Hilton off the Msunduzi grid, even though people there go for days without power.
They can’t be bothered to fix the broken sewerage and sanitation system.
They can’t be bothered to replace aging water pipes.
They can’t be bothered to fill potholes, collect rubbish regularly, and keep Umngeni clean.
Which is why more and more tourists can’t be bothered to come here.
The breathtaking Howick Falls, once a magnet for attracting tourists, is now a place for drinking and public urinating.
Umngeni should be a star performer. It should be a thriving agricultural and tourist hub. It’s got the Howick Falls, the KarKloof canopy, the Mandela Capture Site, the Midmar Dam. Great people. Great weather. Great views.
All of which should be driving huge tourism into this place. Attracting investment. Creating jobs. Growing rates revenue, to do more and more things for more and more people.
But instead, this council is in a downward spiral.
Delivery failures are destroying not just the local economy but the municipal finances too. Because the less you deliver, the less income you get from residents.
Make no mistake, the ANC’s failure to get the basics right in Umngeni will ultimately lead to the total collapse of its service delivery, its finances, and its local economy.
And let’s face it, the ANC has given up on Umngeni.
And not just Umngeni, but the whole of KZN.
President Ramaphosa has given up on this province. He’s only been here twice since the unrest. He allowed his party to wage their warfare in the towns of KZN, leaving a wake of destruction behind them.
People will be picking up the pieces of their lives for years to come, with no help at all from the ANC.
And will the instigators be arrested? Of course not. Because it’s party before people every time.
The ANC has failed Umngeni and it has failed South Africa.
Even the most die-hard ANC supporters are starting to realise this. And that is why I’m confident the ANC will lose at least two seats in Umngeni’s council come 1 November.
And why should the DA win those seats instead?
Because the DA gets things done!
The DA gets things done for the people where we govern.
We have a simple but winning three-part formula for delivering real, tangible improvements to people lives.
We appoint public servants who can deliver to the public not to the party.
We spend public money on the public.
We partner with the public.
That’s how we’ve built our track record of success where we govern.
The DA is the only party with a proven track record of getting things done in government.
We get the basics right. Day after day. Year after year.
In this very real way, we bring real, tangible improvements to the lives of millions of people.
People find it easier to travel on roads where we govern.
They find it easier to go about their daily activities where we govern.
They find it easier to start businesses where we govern.
They find it easier to build houses where we govern.
They find it easier to get jobs where we govern.
Because the DA gets the basics done.
You don’t have to believe me on this one. You just have to look at our track record.
Track record is important in politics because it’s easy to make empty promises come election time.
And the most reliable information on track record comes from independent third party analysis, such as News24’s municipal ratings index which came out this week.
It found that the top 5 best-run municipalities in the country are all run by the DA, with outright majorities.
It found that 12 of the top 20 best-run municipalities in South Africa are DA-run. Which is all the more striking when you consider that the DA runs fewer than 10% of SA’s municipalities.
It found that the best-run municipality in Gauteng is Midvaal, which is also the only municipality in Gauteng where the DA governs with an outright majority.
It found that the best-run municipality in the Eastern Cape is Kouga, which is also the only municipality in the Eastern Cape where the DA governs with an outright majority.
And in 5 years’ time, it could very well find that DA-run Umngeni is the best-run municipality in KZN!
That’s why I say that now is the time to think about the years to come.
Because what happens in five years’ time depends entirely on what happens in 10 days’ time.
In 10 days’ time, on 1 November, you can end Umngeni’s downward spiral and put it on an upward spiral of more delivery, more investment, more jobs, more revenue, and yet more delivery.
In 10 days’ time, you can choose the party that gets things done for you.
I’m not asking you to commit to the DA forever.
I’m asking you to give us one chance – one five-year term – to prove ourselves to you.
One chance to show you that we care. One chance to deliver.
This is not a marriage, it’s a date. It’s not a purchase, it’s a rental.
Hire us, and if you’re not impressed, fire us in five years’ time. That’s what democracy is all about.
But I don’t think you’ll fire us.
I think you’ll hire us again and again, to serve you.
Umngeni won’t look back and nor will you. You’ll be looking forward, to a brighter future.
Now is the time to choose DA delivery.
Manje isikhathi. Manje. (Now is the time. Now.)
Viva DA! Viva!
Help us to bring change to more towns and municipalities by making a donation towards our 2021 Local Government Election campaign, click here.