Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by the DA Federal Leader John Steenhuisen at the DA’s KwaZulu-Natal Congress in Durban today.
It is simply wonderful to be here with all of you today in my home province of KwaZulu-Natal!
This remains a province with enormous potential, despite the ANC’s best efforts to ruin it.
The people of KwaZulu-Natal are resilient and they are increasingly rejecting the damage that the ANC has done here.
In fact, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is going to be home to one of the DA’s flagship campaigns in the leadup to the 2024 election.
This is because victory is within reach here for the DA.
The unfolding dynamics in KZN provides a perfect case study for what we can achieve through the Moonshot Pact I announced at our Federal Congress.
On the one hand, it is clear that ANC support is tanking in KZN. Polling suggests that the ANC will struggle to get even 40% of the vote is an election took place tomorrow.
In contrast, the DA is well on track to grow substantially in this province.
But this is where things get interesting.
While the ANC is set to lose its majority, it may well intend to partner with the EFF when that happens next year.
This means that we will need to work with other parties to make an ANC-EFF coalition impossible.
As I outlined at Congress, this scenario would be Doomsday for South Africa, and the same applies to this province.
The current numbers tell us that, if we partners with other opposition parties here through the Moonshot Pact, including the IFP, then we are already poised to overtake the ANC.
What remains is for us to work with our partners to grow the DA’s vote share to the highest possible level, so that the Pact can together reach 50% plus one in KwaZulu-Natal.
Simply put, our mission must be to push the ANC and EFF collectively to below 50%, while growing the DA and the Pact to 50% plus one.
I know this can be done and I want to congratulate the DA in KZN for showing us how.
The relationship between the DA and IFP in this province is not only important for the future of the Moonshot Pact.
It also demonstrates that when we work together in the best interests of the country, an opposition Pact can become larger than the sum of its parts.
As we’ve seen in by-election after by-election, both the DA and IFP are growing in KZN thanks to the mature cooperation between these parties.
This is exactly the recipe we need to also replicate at national level, by bringing together all like-minded opposition parties that want to defeat the ANC, and keep the EFF and its proxies out of power.
As a I also explained at Congress, the Moonshot Pact can only work when it is constituted out of parties that all share a true commitment to the opposition cause.
It is for precisely this reason that we have not invited parties that are currently propping up ANC and EFF governments in municipalities like Johannesburg.
All political parties will have to make a choice: either they stand with the Pact, or they stand with the ANC and EFF.
Where parties try to sit on the fence or play both sides, we will know that their heart is not truly with the opposition cause, and they must be left out in the cold.
I am also happy to announce some good news here today.
Over the past week, I have been spontaneously approached by more parties and organisations wanting to join the Pact.
I am particularly grateful to the leader of the Spectrum National Party, Mr Christopher Claassen, who has initiated a process to get more local and newly-formed parties to join us around the table at the National Convention for the Moonshot Pact.
It is starting to look like this Convention may become one of the most important political developments in recent South African history.
If all goes well, the Convention should take place during the month of June.
My office has now also reached out to all other party leaders who have already signed up to set up a technical committee to take care of the logistics.
I want to specifically thank the leaders of other parties who have constructively suggested the creation of such a committee to start aligning our preparations and communications.
I can assure you that the DA at national level is deeply committed to getting the leaders of all like-minded opposition leaders around the table at the Convention as soon as possible.
It will be for these leaders to collectively design the minimum programme, terms of engagement and vision of the Moonshot Pact.
My fellow Democrats,
If we get this right, the Pact will offer South African voters something they’ve never before had.
A viable path to victory for the opposition.
The seven parties that have already signed up to the Pact got a third of the national vote in the 2021 election.
Our collective mission must be to increase that total from a third, to half.
Depending on the exact final composition of the Pact, this will likely mean that we need to grow the total non-ANC-and-EFF vote by about 10 to 15% between 2021 and 2024.
I fundamentally believe that this is possible.
This is because the formation of the Pact will show voters that a national DA-led government that excludes both the ANC and EFF is possible.
But for this project to have any chance at success, the DA will have to have its best ever election result in 2024 to provide a stable anchor for a new Pact government.
We are the only party that can provide a stable “anchor” to ensure that the Pact becomes a viable coalition government without the instability we have seen in some places.
For a Pact government to work in a stable way in KwaZulu-Natal and nationally, the DA must be as big as possible.
But there is another reason why I am today asking you to go out from this Congress and run the best election campaign KZN has ever seen.
That reason derives from what happens if the Moonshot Pact does not get to 50% plus one.
While the DA is absolutely committed to this project, we also know that nothing in politics is ever guaranteed.
We are working to achieve the best case scenario – which is a DA Pact government – while also preparing for the worst case scenario.
If the Pact does not manage to push the ANC and EFF to less than 50% combined, then the DA will become the very last bulwark standing between this Doomsday Coalition’s and it’s attempt to finish off our country through destructive policies like expropriation without compensation, nationalising the Reserve Bank and killing-off the private sector.
Make no mistake about it: working with the EFF will give free rein to the ANC’s very worst instincts.
If the Doomsday scenario does take place, with Deputy President Julius Malema in the Union Buildings next year, then only the DA will stand in the way of an ANC-EFF coalition.
This means that we must explain to voters that only a DA that is bigger and stronger than it has ever been before will provide an “insurance policy” if the ANC and EFF do jointly take power in KZN and nationally next year.
The Moonshot Pact is not in conflict with the vision of a growing DA. Quite the opposite.
By providing voters with a credible and realistic path to power for a new government, the Moonshot Pact can enthuse our existing voters like never before, and also win over new voters to the DA who have been waiting for a compelling political vision that can save South Africa.
The Pact offers exactly such a vision.
This credible and practical vision gives opposition voters a sniff of something they have never experienced before: victory over the ANC.
As a member in good standing of the DA in KwaZulu-Natal, I ask you as colleagues that we come out of this Congress more unified than ever before.
I ask that you work with and support your elected leadership.
And above all, I ask that you go out there and canvass every single voter available to the DA.
Tell them that the DA is working day and night to make the Moonshot Pact a success, because we are ready to lead national government.
And explain to them that South Africa will not survive the rise to power of an ANC-EFF coalition, which is why we need every single one of them to register and turn up on Election Day 2024 to do the one thing that can save our beautiful country: vote DA!