The speech below was delivered by DA Eastern Cape Premier Candidate, Nqaba Bhanga, during the party’s Provincial Manifesto launch in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape.
Molweni My Democrats
As I welcome you here today, I want to say that you will not find a more beautiful part of the country than the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. Or a more strong and resilient people.
The people of the Eastern Cape have accomplished great things, despite the hardships we have endured. I want to start by acknowledging some of these extraordinary individuals,
Like the young Siyabulela Xuza, from the townships of Mthatha, who developed his own rocket fuel.
Like Siya Kolisi, who rose from the dusty streets of Zwide, to become the first black Springbok captain in South Africa.
Like Sinowhetu Mfedu, who is the third best matric performer in quintile 1 in the country, despite having to walk 30km to and from her school in Bizana every day.
Like young Avukile Nkayi, from Elliot, whose mother makes a living as a street hawker, that bagged seven distinctions, making him the second-best learner in quintile 2 schools, in the country.
But today, I also want to acknowledge each and every single individual here. As I look at the crowds gathered before me, I can see that there is a blue wave of change sweeping through this province.
It is no accident that we have chosen this venue to launch our provincial manifesto. You see, for far too long, the rural people of the Eastern Cape have been forgotten by the government, who do not care about you.
Let me say that again, the Government does not care about you.
But we have heard your cries for change.
For the past six months I have travelled the length and breadth of the Eastern Cape, listening to the cries of our people.
I have seen first-hand how you are being deprived of basic services, roads are disintegrating, there is NO water, NO electricity, NO houses, NO jobs, NO opportunities.
I am here to tell you NO MORE!
Recently I visited Myolo Primary School in Kwanyathi Village Lusikisiki where almost R3 million was wasted on constructing 9 pit toilets of shoddy workmanship. What happened to this money, money that should have ensured our children’s health and safety?
Last year five year old Lumka Mthethwa drowned in a pit toilet at the Luna primary school in Bizana.
Yesterday I met with the families of six children from Popopo Primary who lost their lives when they were washed away in a flooded river near Matatiele. Our children are literally being forced to risk their lives on a daily basis just to get their basic education.
I went Engobo, Nkhonkota – where two children drowned. When it rains, the children cannot get to school for two weeks. Instead of acquiring school certificates, they are getting death certificates
I have seen children going to bed hungry, because there is no work, which means no money for food.
Families are being ripped apart, as breadwinners leave to seek work elsewhere.
Just this week, while walking the streets of Mthatha, I saw young people struggling to make a living. They told me that they are desperate for work, because they do not have the necessary education.
Mthatha was once the economic hub of the old Transkei, but it is no longer the case, the infrastructure has collapsed, the sewerage is running down the road and the water is contaminated.
I have seen how crime has destroyed the lives of our women and children, who are raped and murdered every day.
Lutho Qudalele, a 19-year-old who was brutally raped and murdered – this happened in Engcingana, Dutywa at the preschool.
Two great South Africans, Nicola Irvine and Fezeka Mbiko, who worked together to build a multi-purpose centre, using eco-friendly construction including plastic bottles and fish net.
I sat in the PE Magistrates court, beside a family that have been robbed of a loving son, Zavier Jassen, as the man who is believed to have brutally gunned him down in front of his family home last year made his first appearance.
As I have said, it is no coincidence that we have chosen the Wild Coast as the venue for our Provincial Manifesto Launch.
The DA is working towards building One South Africa For All and the principles of Team One SA is rooted here.
At university I learnt about how, three hundred years ago, a ship ran aground, and a young white girl named Bessie, was washed up on these shores. Bessie was taken in by the local tribe, given the name Gquma, the Roar of the Sea, and was raised as one of their own.
This girl was treated no different than any other, was seen as an equal, and went on to marry a local chief, and bore him many children.
This, my fellow democrats, is just one example of how we can live together in harmony, regardless of race, gender or background. 300 years ago, we lived together. We have done it before, we can do it again.
We, the DA, are here today to tell you that we have heard you. You are not the forgotten people of the Eastern Cape.
You are in our thoughts when we say that the Eastern Cape NEEDS change.
We need to change the way things are done in this province, we need to take away the power from the failing ruling government who do not care about the people.
We need to tell the government NO MORE!
We need to put an end to the corruption of the government, who take your money and eat it. Money meant to build your houses, your schools, your hospitals is being used to buy luxury cars, build mansions and buy cattle for the connected few.
We know that you, the people of the Eastern Cape, are fed up with the continual empty promises.
By voting for the ANC you are entering into a five year contract with them;
To say that you want your child not to have an education,
To say that you do not want work,
To say that you do not want basic services like water and electricity.
We are not making empty promises, we have a plan that will turn South Africa around, that we want to share with you today.
Our Federal Leader, Mmusi Maimane, will shortly lay bare all our plans to turn the country around.
But first, let me tell you how the Eastern Cape can untap its potential to become one of the economic leaders in South Africa.
FAIR ACCESS TO JOBS
- Did you know that the Eastern Cape has the highest expanded unemployment rate in the country, which means that 1,2 million people are unemployed.
- Those in power are exploiting this, demanding sex for jobs.
- Recently, during a visit to Komani in the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality, I came across women who were told they cannot get EPWP jobs if they don’t sleep with officials.
- What is even more shocking is that, in Komani, I was informed corrupt officials are also insisting on sex for houses.
- The DA will criminalise sex for jobs. If you demand sex for a job, or a house, you are going to go to jail!
- We will invest in our roads, because the roads are the veins of our economy, and the better the roads the faster we will grow
- This wild coast with its natural beauty and friendly people could be an economic hub of the province, attracting tourists from all over the world, while creating jobs for local people
- The Wild Coast has a special place in my heart. It is a place that has many special memories for me, but it is also a place of great sadness.
- Three years ago, my brother came out here to explore the beauty of the wild coast, but he lost his life when he drowned in the ocean.
- I cannot help but wonder, if the infrastructure was better, he might still be with me today
- Corruption is out of control in this province.
- Local government has been crippled by billions of rands of corruption.
- I have seen first-hand the impact corruption has had on municipalities such as Makana; Ngqushwa; Enoch Mgijima; Emalahleni; Intsika Yethu; Great Kei and Dr Beyers Naude.
- And right here, in Ngquza Hill!
- The DA will strengthen our finance procedures across the board, to ensure that money for the people is spent on the people, and those who steal it, go to jail!
- As I have said, my fellow democrats, crime is out of control. 10 people are murdered in this province every single day, and it is getting worse!
- The Eastern Cape also has the second highest recorded murders for women and children in the country, with 550 women and 180 children murdered last year.
- The DA will expand the number of sexual offences courts and will train the people to treat victims better.
I am here to tell you NO MORE!
No More will we allow our women to be exploited for sex!
No more will we allow our children to die in pit toilets!
No more will our children drown in raging rivers!
No More will we be deprived of basic services!
No more will be deprived of opportunity!
No more will we be the forgotten people of the Eastern Cape
My fellow democrats we the DA say no more!