Why the DA is taking a stand against the EFF’s “Nationwide Shutdown”

The DA has taken legal and other action against EFF intimidation and threats of violence ahead of their so-called “National Shutdown” on Monday, 20 March. We object to the intimidatory tactics being employed by members of the EFF, who are threatening “consequences” for any business that dares to open and trade on the day, and for any adult or child who dares to go to work or school on that day.

It is unacceptable for the EFF to trample on the rights of others, to make their own demands heard. And even more objectionable at a time when people are suffering from multiple assaults to their lives and livelihoods, due to disastrous lockdowns, ongoing load shedding, spiralling cost of living, and runaway crime.

Warning signs

EFF social media posts and public statements suggest they are fully prepared to break the law in pursuit of their own agenda. Explicit threats of violence and acts of intimidation include:

  • A picture on social media of the EFF Mpumalanga leader in full red EFF-branded clothing posing with a semi-automatic rifle, and a caption saying: “By all means necessary or possible we are ready @EFFSouthAfrica.”
  • A video doing the rounds of EFF party members announcing the shutdown via a loudspeaker from the back of a bakkie, where the speaker is heard saying: “We are saying to you close down all your businesses to avoid the looting. Close down all your shops to avoid the looting. Close down all your factories to avoid the lootings. Close down everything; nothing will be operating on that day; we are avoiding the looting. So, we are saying to you, come and join the march, my brother; come and join the march, my sister.”
  • Giving the Minister of Education seven days to close schools, saying that any child wearing a school uniform will be doing so at their own risk.
  • Issuing a letter to the OR Tambo Airport authorities warning them not to allow any flights or business activity on the day.
  • That the Leader of the EFF has stated in no uncertain terms that he and his organisation will not apply for any approval from municipal authorities, who are the regulating authorities assigned to enforce legislation regarding public demonstrations, gatherings and protest action. This shows that he and his party have no respect for the rule of law and no intention to abide by the regulations governing protest action.

The rule of law

The rule of law is an essential precondition for achieving the peaceful, prosperous society that South Africa should and could be. It encompasses the notions of equality before the law, and that no one can take the law into their own hands. In threatening violence and vandalism, the EFF is doing just this – taking the law into their own hands.

The EFF has every right to protest peacefully if it has applied for permission to do so. But it has no right at all to infringe on the rights of others. The DA has therefore taken steps to protect others’ rights to dissociate from the EFF and their cause, and their rights to go about their normal day on Monday, in peace.

Pre-emptive steps

  • We are approaching the Court to ensure that the EFF complies with the conditions of permits issued by relevant Municipalities giving permission for peaceful protest.
  • We are seeking a Court interdict to ensure that the EFF leadership formally retracts all intimidation letters that they have issued, such as the letter issued to OR Tambo Airport warning the airport authority not to allow any flights or business activity on the day.
  • Our lawyers have drafted a template affidavit that can be used by any business owner who has been intimidated by any EFF representatives, to report such behaviour and press formal charge of intimidation against the leadership of the EFF and its local representatives who act on behalf of the EFF’s national leadership, and to request that the SAPS prevent, combat and investigate any violation of the legislation that regulates demonstrations, gatherings and events in South Africa. We call on all South Africans to stand with us against EFF thuggery.
  • The DA has written to Police Minister Bheki Cele to highlight the imminent threat posed to the economy, public and private infrastructure, as well as to the safety of citizens. We have called on Minister Cele to issue a strong statement against the “National Shutdown” and assure South Africans that the SAPS and the entire security cluster is on standby to respond to violence.
  • We have written to President Ramaphosa asking him to issue a stern pre-emptive warning that no violence, vandalism or intimidation will be tolerated, and that any such behaviour will meet the full force of the law.
  • We have resolved to press charges against the EFF and hold them personally liable for any damage done to person, property, lives and livelihoods perpetrated during their so-called shutdown.

Nonsensical demands

Apart from being illegal, it makes no sense to instigate a nationwide shutdown to protest load shedding. Shutting the economy down for a day will do nothing at all to solve this problem that has been decades in the making. On the contrary, it will only push South Africa deeper into chaos and poverty.

Where the DA governs

Where the DA governs it will be business as usual. Our Law Enforcement and Traffic Services personnel will work closely with SAPS to maintain law and order and to hold any acts of vandalism and violence to account. Those responsible for vandalism or violence will be arrested.

The DA is committed to creating an environment that is conducive to economic growth and job creation. Nothing could do more to bring safety, stability, prosperity, unity, and an end to load-shedding.

Powerful protest mechanism

There is no better place to bring about social change than at the ballot box. Voting for change is the most powerful protest mechanism. The 2024 general election is the best opportunity to reject the EFF’s politics of chaos and destruction and choose the DA’s commitment to the rule of law and a growing economy.

DA announces Federal Congress Leadership Candidates

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has today announced the names of candidates nominated to stand for election to Party Leadership roles at the DA elective Federal Congress on 1 and 2 April 2023.

In just 17 days, DA Federal Congress delegates will participate in a democratic internal election to select the leadership of the DA that will take the party forward.

Preparation for DA Federal Congress 2023 is proceeding full steam and the hard work being carried out to prepare for a successful Federal Congress is progressing to plan.

Nominations for the candidates standing for election opened on 6 February 2023 and closed on Monday 13 March 2023.

In terms of clause 6.1.4 of the DA Federal Constitution, “The Federal Congress elects the Leader, the Federal Chairperson and the [3] Deputy Federal Chairpersons.”

Furthermore, alongside Federal Congress, the members of the DA Federal Council will vote for the Chairperson and three Deputy Chairpersons of Federal Council, as well as the Federal Finance Chairperson, in terms of clause of the Federal Constitution.

As the DA Federal Congress Presiding Officers, we have the pleasure of announcing the following candidates who have been nominated respectively:


Federal Finance Chairperson

Dion George

Lungile Phenyane

Deputy Chairpersons of Federal Council [3]

Annelie Lotriet

Ashor Sarupen

James Masango

Lungile Phenyane

Segope Sathekge

Thomas Walters

Tyrone Gray

Chairperson of Federal Council:

Helen Zille

Lungile Phenyane

Deputy Federal Chairpersons [3]:

Anton Bredell

Jean-Pierre (JP) Smith

Lungile Phenyane

Natasha Mazzone

Nqaba Bhanga

Refiloe Nt’sekhe

Shehana Kajee

Solly Malatsi

Federal Chairperson:

Ivan Meyer

Lungile Phenyane

Qhawekazi Mbatha

Federal Leader:

John Steenhuisen

Lungile Phenyane

Mpho Phalatse

We are very pleased with the diversity of our candidates as well as the provincial representation and the age diversity. We can also confirm that the nomination process was thorough and democratic.

The DA looks forward to a robust and successful Federal Congress as we demonstrate a clear commitment to internal democracy in our Party.

The latest job numbers show the DA’s approach to job creation works and works well

Of the 169 000 jobs created in South Africa in the fourth quarter of last year, 167 000 were created in DA-run Western Cape. The net total of jobs created during those three months in the eight ANC-run provinces was just 2000. That means the only DA-run province contributed 99% of the new jobs created while the eight ANC-run provinces together contributed just 1%.

This data comes from StatsSA’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey that was released this week. And this is not an isolated success story for DA-led job creation. This is just the latest piece of evidence showing that the DA’s approach since we took over the Western Cape and City of Cape Town with outright majorities in 2009 and 2011 respectively is the one the whole country should take.

And think how many more jobs could have been created if the Province and City were not battling the multitude of obstacles constantly thrown up by the national government, such as ongoing high-stage load shedding, a dysfunctional SAPS, and inflexible labour legislation.

The DA difference

The DA’s approach to job creation is distinct from the ANC’s. We believe government’s role is to create an enabling environment for private economic activity to flourish. It is then up to private players (businesses and consumers) to decide on where to invest, how much to produce, and what to purchase.

This means DA governments focus on getting the basics right, such as delivering quality basic services, roads, public transport, education, health and law enforcement. They achieve this through two main mechanisms. First, by spending public money on the public, as seen by consistent clean audits in the province and city. Second, through merit-based appointments to the public service – in other words, by choosing public servants based primarily on their ability to deliver to the public.

This is source of the DA difference. It is rooted in our core principles for organizing society, which are a commitment to a market economy, a capable state that delivers to all, the rule of law, and nonracialism.

The DA’s approach fosters an environment in which entrepreneurs and businesses are confident enough in the future to make long-term job-creating investments. Building projects, for example, are booming in the Western Cape. Building plans involving almost R35bn were passed between January and November last year, and the province accounted for 40% of the total value of buildings completed over this period.

The DA difference also attracts skilled people to the Western Cape, who then create jobs for unskilled people.

The ANC’s approach, on the other hand, is to create a large number of government jobs and fill many of them with deployed cadres, regardless of whether the people in these jobs are actually adding any value to the public.

This has led to bloated bureaucracies and state-owned entities that can’t deliver services. Eskom, for example, is crippled under the weight of a large wage bill while still unable to deliver on its mandate of generating affordable electricity at scale and transmitting it to municipalities for distribution. It is clearly an unsustainable approach.

Cadre deployment has also enabled corruption on a grand-scale, which further deters job-creating investment.

A widening gap

The DA difference has produced the widening gap in job creation outcomes between DA- and ANC-run governments as seen in the recent job numbers. And evidence of this widening gap is emerging in every sphere of socioeconomic outcomes, not just job creation.

Credible option

The DA difference should bring a real sense of hope to South Africa in these dark days of load-shedding and water-shedding, with grant-shedding now on the horizon too. The ANC has had 30 years to prove their model of job creation, and the results are clear for all to see. In 2024, voters can choose the DA difference for the whole country.

Voting for the DA in 2024 is now about pragmatically choosing the only credible party that has shown it can tackle the unemployment crisis. It’s about getting the whole country onto the road to dignity and prosperity.

Viva la Devolution!

President Ramaphosa got it absolutely wrong in his State of the Nation Address when he said we are a nation defined by resilience. On the contrary, we are a nation in a profoundly fragile position, facing the real prospect of total grid collapse and national anarchy.

Central control

The fragility of our nation really hit home this past week. Eskom implemented stage 7 loadshedding and lost its CEO (with COO soon to follow). And crime statistics were released for October to December 2022 showing South Africa’s murder rate is now 82 murders per day on average (up from 58 five years ago), which makes us more dangerous than the average war-torn country.

The problem with centralized power is that it puts all our eggs in one basket. For energy supply, that basket is Eskom. For safety, it is SAPS which is controlled by national government (though this fact seems to have escaped Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele who criticized the DA during his SONA debate speech for Cape Town’s under-resourced police stations). Eskom and SAPS are both failing. Everyone is suffering. And we have nowhere else to turn. This is fragility, not resilience.

Nature knows best.

To become a truly resilient nation, we need to learn from nature. Natural systems tend to be decentralised, allowing for innovation, adaptability, and regeneration, making them robust and resilient. Take energy generation. Every green leaf or blade of grass out there is a micro power plant. If one leaf or branch fails, the tree survives. If one tree fails, the forest survives.

Power to the people.

This is essentially the message I sought to convey in my SONA reply speech. That South Africa has pursued a centralized system for long enough to feel the reality of the failure. That it is time to embrace a decentralised system where economic decision-making power is distributed across the nation by means of a market-driven economy, and where power to perform a function is located at the lowest effective level of government.

Viva la Devolution!

The DA is working hard to have powers over energy generation and policing devolved to competent governments in Cape Town and the Western Cape. We are making progress on both fronts, setting important precedents for other competent metros and provinces to follow. We strongly believe people must get good governance if they vote for it.

By throwing open the energy market and doing everything possible to incentivise local power production, the City of Cape Town is building a resilient energy system for its residents, with the next bid round opening next month. It will take three years to wean the City off dependence on Eskom. But thereafter, residents will benefit from a decentralised system where they will never again have to contemplate the threat of total collapse.

Ground-breaking progress

Cape Town and the Western Cape are also constantly pushing the envelope on public safety, using political, legal and de facto processes to expand the functions and mandates of its Metro and LEAP police forces. The City scored a ground-breaking success last week when the Western Cape High Court granted its application to serve eviction notices to unlawful occupants of public spaces in the CBD. This was after the City made every effort to help them off the streets, including offers of dignified transitional shelter at NGO-run shelters and City-run Safe Spaces. The legal action is premised on the belief that a city’s public places serve important social and community purposes and must be open and available for all.


Other good news is that Cilliers Brink is the DA mayoral candidate for Tshwane. Brink is an extraordinarily capable individual who, as member of the mayoral committee for Corporate and Shared Services from 2016 to 2019, spearheaded the fight against irregular contracts entered into under Tshwane’s last ANC mayor. If he is elected, I am confident he will rise to the challenge of leading South Africa’s Capital City down the same path of good governance and devolution that Cape Town is blazing.


If we want to be a resilient nation, we’re going to have to fight and vote for decentralization. Power to the people!

South Africa’s binary choice in 2024

Every South African voter needs to hear the key message I sought to convey in my SONA 2023 reply speech this week. I summarise it here for those who don’t have time to read or watch the full speech.

Five disastrous years

If Jacob Zuma presided over “nine wasted years”, President Ramaphosa has presided over five disastrous years. Five years on, it is clear his “New Dawn” was an empty promise. South Africa has gone backwards on every important metric of social wellbeing.

  • Murder has gone up from 58 to 78 people murdered per day.
  • Unemployment has gone up from 37% to 43%.
  • Number of days under load-shedding has gone up from 6 in 2018 to 157 in 2022.

This decline is the inevitable consequence of the ANC’s approach to running the country, which is to centralise power in a bloated, all-powerful state. This they have achieved by deploying loyal cadres into every area of the state so as to control “all levers of power”.

Cadre deployment has produced a corrupt, incapable state that cannot deliver on its basic mandate – an extractive, patronage-driven system that benefits a connected elite at the expense of the rest. Over the past 20 years, the DA has warned about the folly of cadre deployment. Now the consequences are there for all to see: stage-6 load shedding, trains that don’t run, hospitals that can’t treat the sick, schools that can’t teach children to read, a police service that can’t keep people safe.

Crossing the Rubicon

SONA 2023 was President Ramaphosa’s last chance to lead South Africa “across the Rubicon” onto a fundamentally different, better path of open markets, merit-based public appointments, independent institutions and accountable government – in short, liberal democracy. By SONA 2024, it will be too late to bring real change before the general election later that year.

Instead, he chose to double down on the socialist approach, adding yet another ministry to his super-presidency and declaring a state of disaster, putting even more power in the unaccountable state.

But we South Africans can take ourselves “across the Rubicon”. It is for precisely a moment such as this, when a leader fails a nation, that we have a democracy. If we want to get this country onto a fundamentally different, better path before load-shedding and economic decline make it impossible to recover, now is the time to use our democracy.

Time for pragmatism

The DA offers South Africa a realistic, credible way across the Rubicon. We are the only party with the size, systems, policies, national footprint and track record of good governance to take on the ANC. It makes pragmatic sense to get behind the DA in 2024.

Coalition era

The collapse of Eskom and ongoing stage-6 load shedding has been catalytic for South Africa. It has collapsed support for the ANC, from 57% in 2019 to reach as low as 37% recently, according to a recent nationwide poll.

With load shedding set to continue for at least the next two years, and with accelerating decline on all fronts, there is no way the ANC will regain its majority. Therefore, South Africa will enter an era of coalitions at the national level next year after the 2024 national election.

Closing the gap

That same recent poll has the DA at 27%, meaning we are just 10 percentage points behind the ANC. And we will close that gap still further over the next 15 months. In fact, we have already overtaken the ANC as the biggest party in urban South Africa.

Yellow or Blue

These numbers make it clear that from 2024, the national government will be governed by either an ANC-led coalition or a DA-led coalition. Realistically, these are the only two possible outcomes.

This means we will either stay on the ANC’s path to a failed state, or we will start to make progress, just as there is already progress where the DA governs with a full majority or in small, stable coalitions – in Cape Town, the Western Cape, uMngeni in KZN, Kouga in the Eastern Cape, and Midvaal in Gauteng.

Power to the ANC cadres and we stay on the same road to a failed state. Or power to the people and we start rebuilding this country. ANC-led socialist kleptocracy or DA-led liberal democracy. Yellow or Blue. That’s the clear binary choice facing South Africa.

DA challenges Ramaphosa’s dangerous and desperate National State of Disaster in Court

In the absence of any real solutions to the permanent load shedding crisis created by the ANC, President Cyril Ramaphosa during his SONA address desperately grasped at the straw of a sweeping National State of Disaster.

The DA can confirm that we have already briefed our lawyers to challenge the announcement in court.

South Africa has been down this road before. During the Covid-19 disaster, we saw the fatal flaws in the National State of Disaster legislation, which allows the ANC unfettered power to loot without any parliamentary oversight. The DA is already in court to declare the Disaster Management Act unconstitutional and we will now do the same to prevent the ANC looting frenzy that will follow Ramaphosa’s dangerous and desperate announcement like night follows day.

Our country simply cannot survive another round of the looting and irrationality we saw during the Covid pandemic. Last time around, the lack of accountability under a National State of Disaster enables Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – who is again in charge of managing the ANC-made load shedding disaster – to issue nonsensical and economically destructive regulations that were entirely disconnected from Covid, including by banning everything from cooked chicken to open-toed shoes and alcohol.

A National State of Disaster under the guise of dealing with the load shedding crisis it created, will similarly empower the ANC to abuse procurement processes and issue nonsensical regulations that have nothing to do with the electricity crisis. The DA will not sit back and allow the ANC to abuse the electricity disaster it created to loot and further abuse the people of South Africa.

Instead of punishing the people with a sweeping disaster declaration for the damage wrought by decades of ANC corruption and cadre deployment at Eskom, the DA has consistently called for urgent and focused interventions in the energy sector. We reiterate our call to urgently loosen the regulatory noose around the electricity system’s neck by incentivising massive private sector investment in generation, and removing impediments like localisation requirements and BEE to enable Eskom to recruit the skilled people it so desperately needs to speed-up maintenance and unbundling.

The rest of Ramaphosa’s address was characterised by the same delusion that led to the disaster declaration.

He talked of electric cars in a country that does not have electricity. He talked of hope in a country that has lost all hope.

South Africa’s future is a choice between Blue and Yellow

Ladies and gentlemen,

Distinguished guests,

Members of the diplomatic corps,

Members of the media,

Fellow South Africans,

For those of you who are from out of town, welcome to the Mother City on a beautiful summer’s day.

I hope you’ll enjoy your stay here in DA-run Cape Town. There is no better city in the world to visit in the height of summer.

But since the people of this city first elected a DA government in 2006, Cape Town has come to represent so much more than just being a world-class tourist destination.

Cape Town, along with other places where the DA enjoys outright majorities – most of the Western Cape, Midvaal in Gauteng, Kouga in the Eastern Cape, and, more recently, uMngeni in KwaZulu-Natal – provides a glimpse into what South Africa could have looked like nearly 30 years into our democracy.

In the midst of the accelerating collapse of national government services all around us, best exemplified by permanent load shedding, most people are deeply concerned about the trajectory our country is on.

Polling from the Social Research Foundation says that nearly 70% of people believe South Africa is headed in the wrong direction.

IPSOS puts the number even higher, at 74%.

Yet, alarming as these findings are, they also enable us to pose an important counterfactual question.

How would South Africans have felt about the future if the whole country was heading in the same direction as Cape Town, Midvaal, uMngeni, Kouga, and other places with solid DA majorities?

How would investors have looked at South Africa if the national government did not tolerate corruption and embraced the private sector as a partner, like the Western Cape does?

What would South Africa’s global reputation have been if we sided with Ukraine and the free world against Russian aggression, like all DA-controlled governments have done?

While I do not suggest that DA governments are perfect, I am confident that most people would be far more hopeful about South Africa’s future if the national government delivered honest and quality services at the same level as the Western Cape, Midvaal and uMngeni.

And rather than being in danger of again becoming a “skunk of the world” due to the ANC’s support for the criminal invasion of Ukraine, I suspect our country’s global standing would be trending upwards if we did the right thing by standing against Russian aggression.

To my mind, there can be little doubt that a South Africa on the same positive path as DA-run governments like Cape Town would have been a country on the up.

A country making progress in overcoming serious challenges, and growing evermore confident in our ability to become the winning nation we dreamed of being in 1994.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We all know that the reality of the South Africa we inhabit today is far removed from this vision.

As we gear up for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s fifth State of the Nation Address since the ousting of Jacob Zuma, we need to take a big step back and view that period in its entirety.

Because it is easy to get carried away by all the shiny new baubles on the tree – the new 10-point plans, the new task teams and commissions, the new tzars and dreams. We get those every year.

But Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president five years ago. He rode in on a promise of reform and was carried to the Union Buildings on a wave of goodwill and euphoria following the disaster that was the ANC government of Jacob Zuma.

We all know that today there is very little left of that goodwill, and even less confidence that things will improve.

If Thursday is truly about setting out the State of our Nation, we’re going to have to look past the carefully crafted smoke and mirrors and the cherry-picked stats, and take in the bigger picture of the full five years of this administration.

Because that’s how you will see whether we’re making any progress at all, and where we might be heading as a country.

Look at the country’s trajectory on crime. Look at the trajectory on unemployment. Look at the trajectory on infrastructure maintenance and investment. Look at the trajectory on capital and skills flight. Look at the trajectory on load-shedding. Look at the trajectory on poverty.

See where we now stand on each of these things, and which way the trend is heading.

The reality for ordinary South Africans – as opposed to the pampered ANC elite who have insulated themselves from the government failures they engineered – is that life has progressively become harder and harder over the past five years.

Increases in the cost of living have far outstripped earnings for almost every South African, and most certainly for those trying to survive on social grants, which is now almost 50% of our population. That’s the 18.4 million South Africans who receive a social grant, plus the 10.5 million recipients of the Covid social relief of distress grant.

For these people, the sharp rise in the price of a basic basket of goods along with multiple above-inflation fuel price increases and electricity tariff hikes, has made life unbearably hard.

And that situation is only going to get worse this year, as indefinite high-stage load-shedding wreaks havoc on our economy, shuts down businesses, and sends even more people from the workplace to the social grants queue.

You don’t have to be an economist to know that this is an unsustainable situation, and we are fast approaching its breaking point.

Already, government’s social grants spending this financial year will reach a massive R364 billion, and is expected to take up almost 60% of our entire non-interest spending over the next three years.

Now factor in the shrinking tax base and the steady exodus of capital, businesses and skills, and you will see that we are headed for an unprecedented crisis if we don’t find a way to drastically change course to ensure we can keep paying for life-sustaining social grants.

Last July’s riots will seem like a tame dress rehearsal the day government can no longer pay social grants. We cannot risk such a situation.

If we want to right this ship, it will have to be done on multiple fronts simultaneously.

We have to get our economy expanding beyond the dismal 0.3% forecast last week by the South African Reserve Bank. We have to find a way to stop skills and businesses from leaving our shores and to bring in new investments. And we have to help a lot more South Africans move into the dignity of a job.

We have no time to waste.

But a glance at our performance on every critical metric over the past five years says that we are doing none of these things, and that we are in fact regressing.

Arguably the most telling of these metrics is the hours, or days, that we have spent under load-shedding since 2018, because this is by far the single biggest impediment to investment and growth.

In 2018, South Africa spent a total of six days under load-shedding.

Since then, it has gone up every year – first to 22 days, then 35 days, and in 2021 we spent 48 days under load-shedding.

But it was in 2022 that the wheels really came off and our country spent an incredible 157 days under load-shedding. Sadly, it already looks like 2023 is going to smash that record.

Just this past Sunday, Eskom set a dubious new record for the longest ever streak of uninterrupted load shedding: a staggering 984 consecutive hours – and counting.

This is not a country on the mend. This is a country falling apart.

Despite all the bluster and PR spin, this is Ramaphosa’s true legacy: he has only added five wasted years to the nine he likes to blame his predecessor for.

This is a country that is losing hundreds of billions of rands in productivity, and hundreds of thousands of jobs, to an ANC-made crisis.

A crisis for which everyone – from the DA to energy experts to media commentators – has been proposing the same simple solutions. But thanks to its ideological stubbornness and its deeply entrenched web of patronage and corruption, those solutions have always been a bridge too far for the ANC.

Of course, load-shedding is the most visible and most threatening state failure to affect South Africans, but it is by no means the only one.

Our post office has collapsed. Our freight rail network has collapsed. Our passenger rail service has collapsed. Our ports have all but collapsed. Our police service is losing the war on violent crime. And municipal service delivery in hundreds of towns across the country is virtually non-existent.

These failures have been a long time coming, but with the move to permanent high-stage load-shedding, government failure has reached into every home in a way that can no longer be countenanced.

For many who have recently packed up and left the country, Eskom’s collapse was the final straw. For the millions who remain here, load-shedding is a daily source of despair and anguish – a metaphor for what life under an ANC government has become.

In every community I visit, this has become the theme of our conversations. People feel furious and powerless at the same time.

The most common comment I hear from South Africans is “John, we don’t know what to do.”

And my answer to them is always the same: As long as we still have a working democracy, failure doesn’t have to define our future. Thanks to our democracy, we still have a way out of this.

Right now, the people of South Africa are facing the most important fork in the road in a generation.

Our choice of road will determine whether we end up a failed state with a collapsed power grid and social anarchy, or whether we embark on the long, arduous journey to recovery, and ultimately prosperity.

Because as much as some may try to complicate our options, it really is a simple binary between the ANC and the DA.

This is why the question of how very different things could have been if the national government operated according to the same values and principles as DA-led local and provincial governments, is more than just an interesting thought experiment.

It is, in fact, the single most important question we must consider if we want tomorrow to be better than today.

That is because, as the 2024 election fast approaches, the DA offers the only credible, better alternative way forward for our country.

And let’s be clear about it: what the DA offers is better. Look no further than right here in Cape Town, where residents are already protected against up to two stages of load shedding. It is thanks to DA policies that Cape Town is set to start buying extra electricity from businesses and households, and why hundreds of megawatts in private projects are on the way to end load shedding here before anywhere else in South Africa.

Where the DA governs outright, potholes are repaired, sewerage is collected, and infrastructure is maintained. And as the failures of national government accelerate, DA local governments are increasingly taking over services like electricity generation, public transport and policing.

As the collapse of ANC-run governments accelerates at the same time that the DA pushes the boundaries of innovation and good governance, the gap between these two paradigms is set to become a yawning chasm by 2024.

There is simply no realistic path to fixing South Africa that will not rely heavily on the DA bringing this demonstrated track record of good governance to bear at national level.

In fact, there are only two realistic scenarios for what South Africa’s future could look like.

Before we look at those, I want to emphasise the word “realistic” in the previous sentence.

There are only two realistic scenarios for what South Africa’s future could look like.

The 2024 election’s silly season is fast approaching, during which you will hear all kinds of self-serving yet entirely unrealistic promises.

Tiny opposition parties will promise things they can never deliver.

No-hope politicians will try to convince you that a ragtag 10-party minority coalition will somehow magically bring about the policy stability our country needs.

Wannabe strongmen will argue that scapegoating our Constitution is the populist silver bullet we need to deal decisively with the multifaceted crisis we face.

All of this is smoke and mirrors.

The truth is that there are only two realistic possibilities on the table for what South African politics will look like after the 2024 election.

The one is the horrifying prospect of a government that continues to operate on the basis of the failed ANC paradigm of state control, cadre deployment and patronage.

The other, hopeful, possibility is of a government that charts a new course, guided by the DA’s values and principles: accountability, non-racialism and a steadfast commitment to the rule of law and a social market economy.

Think about it with me for a moment, and you will see that those really are the only two realistic choices we face.

On the one hand, an election result that sees the ANC scraping together a 50% majority will obviously mean more of the same.

Corruption will continue unabated as the ANC continues to practice disastrous policies like cadre deployment.

The government will continue to regard private enterprise with hostility, to hold a monopoly over critical economic sectors, and to provide substandard education and healthcare services.

As a consequence, load shedding will continue, poverty and inequality will grow further, and accelerating capital flight will turn the South African economy into an isolated basket case.

Equally, an outcome that sees the ANC teaming up with small parties – with or without the involvement of the EFF – will yield a government guided by an even more intense concoction of the same failed ANC patronage politics that got us into the current mess.

For proof that a coalition dominated by the ANC offers no prospect of change, look no further than what is currently playing out in Johannesburg.

There, the ANC has handed the mayoralty to a proxy party that got less than 1% of the vote in order to continue leading that city down the path of ANC-engineered decay.

While Johannesburg is nominally led by a mayor from another party, the reality is that it is, once again, under the control of the same old ANC-style politics.

In effect, it is an ANC government in a slightly different guise.

In a scenario where the ANC scrapes together an outright majority in 2024, or where it teams up with proxies like the EFF and small parties, we will simply walk faster down the same road to ruin we are already on, because there would have been no course correction.

In this scenario, what we get after 2024 will fundamentally still be a government dressed in Yellow, perhaps just wearing a red beret and some orange socks.

On the other hand, we have the only other realistic – and far more hopeful – option.

This is the option of a government guided by the same DA values and principles that have put a place like Cape Town onto a fundamentally better trajectory than all ANC-run governments.

While the exact configuration of a new government built on DA values and principles is hard to foretell, any such majority coalition will, by definition, feature the DA as the anchor tenant.

This will be a government dressed in Blue.

I am sure that the next 14 months will feature intense speculation about what our next national government looks like, but there is one thing we can all be certain of already: that new government will either be led by the ANC, or by the DA.

Even those who hope for some new party to be formed, or for a “purified” version of the ANC to form a breakaway before 2024, cannot escape the reality that such splinters would not get anywhere close to 50%, and would therefore also have to choose between working with the party it came from, or throwing its weight behind the DA.

That Blue or Yellow are the only two credible choices, is confirmed by an important story published this past weekend in the City Press newspaper.

According to the ANC’s own internal research, the party is now polling below 40% – even as low as 37% – as fed-up voters look for an alternative that can solve load shedding, stop corruption, reduce crime, and bring down rampant unemployment and the unaffordable cost of living.

And which party do voters see as the only credible alternative? The DA, which the polls put at 27% – up 7% since 2019, and still growing steadily towards 30%.

That the difference between the ANC and the DA is now as low as 10 percentage points demonstrates conclusively that 2024 is going to be a two-horse race.

Anyone who tries to convince you that a party outside of the ANC or DA could lead the next government, is either dishonest or delusional.

Just think about the mathematics: at 27%, the DA is bigger than the EFF, IFP and the next four parties combined.

Instead of fragmenting the opposition vote among tiny parties with no realistic shot at leading a government, doesn’t it make far more sense to consolidate support behind the DA, so that we can close the remaining 10% gap and overtake the ANC?

Here is a fact that few people may know: if the 14% of voters who are currently fragmented among dozens of tiny parties that will all get less than 1% of the vote switch to the DA before 2024, our support will grow to over 40% and we will overtake the ANC.

All of this makes it clear that the pragmatic, mathematical reality is that any road to forming a new government which commands over 50% of seats in Parliament after 2024 will either run through ANC-town, or through DA-ville.

So, what are the implications of all this?

It is simply this: anyone who wants to see South Africa turn away from the failed approach that has put us on the road to collapse, and get onto a new path of recovery and growth, needs to back the DA.

And there are promising signs that a majority of voters are ready to dump the failed, Yellow way in favour of a new, Blue way.

Analysis conducted by the Social Research Foundation last year showed that the underlying societal shift required to bring about such profound change is already happening.

For the first time ever, the DA came out as the number one choice for all voters when it came to effective service delivery, clean governance, good policies and ensuring accountability.

At the same time, the ANC was most associated with breaking promises, only caring about itself, and being anti-poor.

Clearly, the DA’s work over the past three years to take on the issues that matter most to voters, is paying off.

Through our campaigns to reduce the cost of living, end cadre deployment, devolve policing powers to competent local governments, improve basic service delivery, and beat back loadshedding where we govern, we are winning over more and more people from all backgrounds.

This, too, is reflected in the SRF research, which shows that the DA has by far the most diverse support base of any party, drawing support in equal amounts from all major demographic groups.

And, it shows that the DA has now overtaken the ANC as the largest party in urban South Africa.

Taken together, the DA has put in place the necessary ingredients to ensure that the whole of South Africa embarks on the fundamentally different and better path that places like Cape Town are already on.

What remains is for us to take our message of hope across the length and breadth of this country in the lead-up to the 2024 election. The plans to do exactly that are already at an advanced stage.

But it is not only voters who need to confront the clear binary choice we now face.

Businesspeople, international investors, diplomats, media commentators and members of civil society organisations will also have to make a choice about the future they want to see here.

If you are in a position of power, you have a responsibility to help this country make the right choice out of the two options before it.

Change is in the air and our future is on the line.

Influential members of our society must not allow a withering ANC to intimidate them into silence.

I call upon all of you to use your democratic right to freedom of speech to take a stand in favour of the DA leading national government after 2024.

I believe that the vast majority of you will ultimately agree with the shifting voter sentiment that the DA offers the only credible way out of the deep hole South Africa finds itself in.

If you count yourself among the group who want this country to embark on a fundamentally better path, then use your voice in the service of change.

Because that is ultimately what democracy demands of us.

It offers us the possibility of peacefully changing direction. It gives us a way out when we recognise that the road we’re on leads to a dangerous dead-end.

Democracy gives us the opportunity to assess the binary choice between more of the same under the ANC, or a better way forward under the DA. But it will not make the choice for us.

That is up to each and every one of us. By using our influence to persuade those around us to make the right choice. By speaking up about the nature of the binary choice facing South Africa. And ultimately by using our power at the ballot box to effect the change we want to see.

Esteemed guests,

The True State of our Nation is that the people have a binary choice to make that will irrevocably shape South Africa for generations to come.

Nothing that President Ramaphosa says on Thursday will change this reality.

In fact, Ramaphosa is the one who has taken us down this path of failure over the last five wasted years, during which time this country has rapidly gone backwards on every conceivable metric.

The truth is that he has had his chance, and spectacularly blew it.

The future of this country is no longer up to him, or to his party.

History has overtaken Cyril Ramaphosa.

The future now rests with the people of South Africa.

It is now up to each and every one of us to find our voice and strengthen the only party that offers a credible, better alternative for South Africa.

That party is the DA, and in 2024 we must form a new government that is built around the same values and principles that have already put places like Cape Town onto a better path.

It is for precisely a moment like this – where we are confronted with a binary choice between oblivion and reconstruction – that we have a democracy.

Now is the time to use it to save our beloved country.

Thank you.

Why the DA did the right thing in Johannesburg

A tree that is freshly rooted can easily be plucked. A tree that is firmly grounded cannot be removed, even with a crane.        – Sufi poet

Firm, sound principles are the foundation for enduring success. And principles matter most when sticking to them is hard. Would a person or political party be considered principled if they only stuck to their principles when it was convenient to do so?

I have said it before and I will say it again: when it comes to coalition negotiations, as with other decisions, the DA will choose that option which we believe to be in the best long-term interest of South Africa. A DA with unshakeable principles, a DA that can be relied upon to stick to a coalition agreement, a DA that is very firm about the line it will not cross – this is the DA that voters need to know they are voting for come the general election of 2024.

This is crucial because in 2024 South Africa will enter an era of coalitions whether we like it or not.

It was painful to hand control of Johannesburg to an ANC-EFF-PA coalition under the hapless “placeholder” mayorship of Thapelo Amad of Al Jama-ah, a party that did not even get 1% of the vote. But it was undoubtedly the lesser of two evils. The alternative was to give in to extortion by the Patriotic Alliance and compromise the DA’s credibility as a party of principle.

Small party, big influence

There are 270 seats in the JHB council, so a coalition needs 136 seats to form a majority. In the 2021 local election, the voting was highly fragmented, with 18 parties making it into council out of the 56 parties and several independent candidates on the ballot paper. Neither the DA nor the ANC are able to form a majority coalition with their natural allies. The ANC (91) and EFF (29) together make up 120 seats while the DA (71), ASA (44), IFP (7), FF+ (4), ACDP (3) and COPE (1) together make up 130 seats.

This situation gives enormous, disproportionate power to smaller parties who become “kingmakers” able to install a coalition at their whim in exchange for their demands being met. This is a subversion of democracy.

In JHB’s case, the Patriotic Alliance, a party with less than 3% of the vote and led by two convicted criminals, was open and unashamed about offering power to whichever coalition would give it access to the greatest opportunities for patronage and extraction.

The DA was not prepared to engage in the politics of extortion by handing over control of Joburg’s coffers to the PA. The DA painstakingly built a multiparty government in Johannesburg to offer a distinct alternative to ANC rule, marked by zero-tolerance for corruption. We did not build it to show that our offer is one of less corruption than the ANC.

Ahead of the make-or-break 2024 general election, it is more important than ever that voters see clear blue water between the DA and the ANC.

Coalition country

The DA is part of 38 coalition governments around South Africa.  The vast majority of these are stable and successful, focusing on service delivery to citizens. The ones that are not are those where the coalition is large (6 or more parties) and lacks a majority in council. These multiparty minority coalitions are inherently unstable.

South Africa cannot afford to replace failing ANC governments with unstable, cumbersome coalitions. Yet this is what happened in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Nelson Mandela Bay metros after the 2021 local government election, and it is at risk of happening at national and provincial level after the 2024 general election.

Proportional representation (PR) electoral systems tend towards a fragmented voter base and coalition instability. This hasn’t been apparent in South Africa because the ANC has until now comfortably achieved over 50% of the national vote. But this is no longer so. If the current state of metro coalitions is replicated at national and provincial government level in 2024, it will lead to permanent instability, with South Africa possibly even becoming ungovernable.

Other countries with PR systems, such as Germany, Denmark and Israel, have legislation in place to promote stable coalitions. South Africa’s electoral framework needs to catch up with the current South African reality that we are fast entering an era of coalitions. Last year, the DA presented a 5-point plan to stabilise coalitions. We are working on three Private Members Bills to implement these proposals.

Meantime, Johannesburg offers valuable lessons for voters ahead of 2024.

Valuable lessons

First, voting for very small parties is risky as it fragments a council and leads to large, unstable coalitions, extortion politics, a subversion of democracy, and bad service delivery. While Joburg’s mayor has a two-month time horizon before he gets replaced, Cape Town’s mayor yesterday launched the City’s R120 billion infrastructure portfolio as the foundation for economic growth over the next ten years. Cape Town residents are reaping the benefit of the DA’s full majority in council.

Second, voters can rely on the DA to enter into coalition agreements in good faith, to publish those agreements for all to see, and then to stick to those agreements.

Third, the DA will not go into government at all costs, and we will not compromise on our core principles. We’d rather be a principled opposition than be part of corrupt coalitions.

Unshakeable principles

South Africa is in the mess it’s in because the ANC has lost its moral compass and because too many voters are prepared to vote for a party devoid of morals. The way to claw back from that mess is not for other parties to abandon their principles for short-term gain. It is for other parties to be clear about what their principles are, and then to stand by them even when it’s hard.

Update on the DA’s response to the energy crisis

Since my last newsletter, titled The DA’s response to the energy crisis”, the DA has taken several further bold actions to help solve SA’s energy crisis.

Yesterday, the DA led a huge, peaceful and successful Power to the People march to Luthuli House, ANC headquarters. The reasons for doing so were important. Voters need to understand that ANC corruption and incompetence, not Eskom or Nersa, are to blame for loadshedding and high electricity prices. The ANC needs to understand that if it continues on its obstructionist path, it will lose power.

On Monday and Tuesday this week we were in court to rip out the problem at its roots by having the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment declared illegal. Because of the cadre deployment committee records that the DA exposed to the country last year, we know it is at Luthuli House where, over the past 25 years, the decisions were made to “deploy” the corrupt and incompetent ANC cadres who destroyed Eskom.

Also this week, DA-run Cape Town became the first city to successfully negotiate a feed-in tariff with Treasury, which will allow the City to soon pay businesses and residents for supplying their excess electricity to the local grid. This is just the latest of several measures taken to shield residents from ANC loadshedding.

Last week, the DA filed court papers to interdict the Nersa tariff increase, on the basis that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for ANC corruption and incompetence. As part of the application, we also asked that the court direct government to file, within 30 days, a comprehensive plan, including short-term, medium-term and long-term steps, to avert the energy crisis.

On Monday next week, the DA will be in court again. This is for our other case against cadre deployment, which is a PAIA application to obtain all cadre deployment minutes from the time President Ramaphosa was chair of the ANC’s national deployment committee. The ANC says cadre deployment is freedom of speech, yet Ramaphosa is intent on hiding his minutes.

Of course, the energy crisis is just the most visible of the multiple crises hitting South Africa, all with the same root causes. The DA’s offer to South Africans in the make-or-break general election of 2024 will be to not just do things better, but to do things differently.

We are offering fundamental rather than superficial reform, in line with our four core governing principles, which are a commitment to the rule of law, a market-driven economy, a capable state that delivers to all, and nonracialism. In this newsletter from June last year, I set out why each of these core principles is an essential prerequisite for fixing our energy crisis and for building a prosperous South Africa.

I hope the many links in this newsletter will serve to reassure you that the DA is going all out to help solve the energy crisis.

Gauteng residents once again left without water due to Rand Waters’s incompetence

Gauteng residents once again have limited access to water due to Rand Water’s ineptitude.

The continued load shedding is negatively impacting Rand Water’s ability to supply our reservoirs in the province with water.

Municipalities are also severely affected by this as it means that there is not sufficient time between the scheduled blackouts for the reservoirs to fill up.

It is extremely worrying that during a heatwave, our residents do not have access to a reliable supply of water.

It is high time that Rand Water gets its house in order so that some of the pressure can be taken off municipalities.

Furthermore, we demand that Rand Water must communicate timeously to the residents of Gauteng through their municipalities about the planned water outages due to the maintenance of water infrastructure. They should also provide updates on reservoir levels per municipality so that they are aware of the severity of the issue and find ways to mitigate.

In order to find a solution to the current problem with the supply of water in the province, Rand Water should urgently convene a meeting with all the municipalities in the province.

Loadshedding has been ongoing since September 2022 and a solution to ensuring that Rand Water and municipalities can supply water to our residents is urgently needed.

Last year, I wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Premier of Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi, requesting that an inter-governmental task be established to find a solution to load shedding and the water crisis in the province.

To date, the only entity that has come back to me about our complaint regarding the water crisis is the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). During our engagement with the SAHRC last year, they indicated that they would be looking into our complaint.

We will be sending a request to the SAHRC for a meeting so that we can be updated on the progress made in our complaint.

The DA urges all our residents in the province to adhere to the current water restrictions in place while we are engaging with different stakeholders in finding a permanent solution to the issue.