BOKAMOSO | NHI more about pillaging than pills

Having wrecked public healthcare, looted some R1.4 trillion from the public purse, rendered 10 million adults jobless, and put Eskom into a death spiral, the government is now turning its attention to nationalizing our healthcare system, tabling its National Health Insurance bill in Parliament last week.

Does anyone really believe the government can deliver a functioning NHI system? On the contrary, it will be catastrophic for our society and economy. If necessary, the DA will challenge the constitutionality of this bill.

Without doubt, everyone in South Africa should have access to quality healthcare. This is non-negotiable in our unequal society. The point of disagreement is how to achieve it. Two distinctly different plans are on the table: the DA’s Sizani Universal Healthcare plan; and the ANC’s NHI.

NHI centralizes the provision of healthcare, making the national department of health the sole provider in the country and forcing all doctors and other providers to contract to the state. This removes choice and competition and effectively creates a new state-owned enterprise, the NHI Fund, with all the usual vulnerabilities to institutionalised looting and state capture.

It envisages a central fund to buy healthcare services for South Africa’s entire population. It has not been costed but certainly requires a vastly greater budget, to be funded through higher taxes, and will take 10-15 years to implement.

Government spent R4.3 billion between 2012/13 and 2016/17 on ten failed NHI pilots. Yet it now seeks to roll out the failed system nationwide. Inevitably, our talent and tax base will erode as both medical professionals and taxpayers flee SA in droves to avoid having their lives at the mercy of our corrupt, incompetent government.

Far better is the DA’s Sizani, premised on the principle of leveraging what already works well (SA’s private health sector and private pharmacies) to bring improvements to what is currently dysfunctional (SA’s public health sector).

The plan allocates a universal subsidy to every South African resident to cover a comprehensive package of health services within the public health system – free at the point of access to everyone, while retaining and reforming the medical aid system.

It is affordable and can be implemented relatively quickly (5-8 years), funded using the existing health budget together with the tax benefit currently allocated to medical aid members.

Sizani is based on localising accountability to hospitals and district health authorities and decentralising decision-making and appointment process. Costs would be driven down as the public and private sectors become more competitive.

Aspects of Sizani have been implemented in the Western Cape, where the DA provincial government runs the best healthcare system in South Africa. Mortality rates are half of other provinces and life expectancy is highest. Hospitals and clinics are far better maintained and resourced.

The WCPG seeks to bring service at public hospitals in line with the best private hospitals. At some hospitals, such as Paarl, they have already succeeded. By contrast, any equality in health provision achieved by NHI will be through destroying what works, rather than by fixing what is broken.

As with expropriation without compensation, prescribed assets (forced investment of pensions in SOEs) and nationalising the Reserve Bank, NHI is a blatant attempt to open more opportunities for looting. We need to stop playing political games with people’s lives, reject NHI, and adopt Sizani.

BOKAMOSO | Ramaphosa cannot be “more equal than others”

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” proclaimed the governing pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, to avoid accountability for their law-breaking. In this unforgettable sentence, Orwell delivered his powerful message down the ages, that all must be equal before the law.

Given the dire state of our economy and the hopes that have been pinned on President Ramaphosa, it is perhaps understandable that South Africans are resistant to his being equal before the law.

It explains why my request for the Public Protector to investigate the nature of the relationship between corrupt Bosasa and the Ramaphosa family has generated resentment. However, I stand firmly behind my actions, confident that I am acting in the country’s best interest.

To recap: Ramaphosa by his own admission received a payment to his campaign bank account of R500,000 from Bosasa’s controversial CEO, Gavin Watson. Also by his own admission, Ramaphosa’s son Andile Ramaphosa has benefitted from a business relationship with Bosasa.

There is a clear conflict of interest in both instances, since Bosasa does billions of rands of business with the state. Yet the President and his son refused my PAIA application for access to Andile’s business contract with Bosasa. Furthermore, President Ramaphosa misled Parliament about these payments. Like it or not, this constitutes a serious breach of the Executive Ethics Code.

The correct (and only) action for the opposition to take was to lay a complaint with the Public Protector requesting her to investigate, which is what I did. Not doing so would have constituted a dereliction of my constitutional duty. In fact, it was the only response available to me: the Office of the Public Protector is the only institution mandated to investigate violations of executive ethics.

Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi’s subsequent testimony to the Zondo Commission into State Capture revealed the extent of the corrupt relationship between Bosasa and many in the ANC.

Equality before the law is a founding principle of SA’s democracy. Indeed, if it were Zuma and his son Duduzane rather than Ramaphosa and Andile, there would be loud calls for accountability.

However, my call for accountability has generated significant resentment for two reasons, both of which are fundamentally flawed.

First, Ramaphosa is seen to represent the “good ANC” which will save SA from the “bad ANC”. Thus, there is a feeling that he must be protected. However, this directly contradicts the principle of equality before the law. It also ignores the reality, which is that there is only one ANC, a party which is currently destroying SA.

Second, the Public Protector herself is incompetent and unfit to hold office. This is somehow used to argue for Ramaphosa’s innocence. Yet Mkhwebane’s unfitness to hold office has no bearing on whether or not the relationship between Bosasa and the President is corrupt.

I will continue to pursue accountability because the principle of equality before the law must be upheld, and the institutions of our democracy respected whether or not the incumbent is fit to hold office.

SA’s long-term success depends on the health of our democratic institutions, not on the health of the ANC. Therefore, President Ramaphosa cannot be “more equal than others”.

BOKAMOSO | The myth of two ANCs is hurting South Africa

To secure a prosperous future for South Africa, the South African public needs to understand that the ANC as a whole is disastrous for this country. The notion that the “good ANC” of Ramaphosa and his reform slate will save South Africa from the “bad ANC” of Magashule, Mabuza, Zuma and the various looters of our state is misguided.

Since taking over from President Zuma a year and a half ago, President Ramaphosa has benefitted from, and at times peddled, this myth. It has largely succeeded in absolving him from wrongdoing and placing him beyond reproach in the eyes of the South African public when what we should be doing is holding him to account.

Superficially, this myth of two ANCs seems plausible and is perhaps entrenched by certain policy disagreements, such as the issue of the Reserve Bank.

But there is in fact only one ANC in which Cyril Ramaphosa has been a central player since long before he became its president at Nasrec. He sat on the ANC’s Top 6 under Jacob Zuma – the same structure he continues to serve in today. He was part of every decision, good or bad, taken by this structure and it is inconceivable that he was either unaware, or sat passively, as key issues were discussed and implemented.

For example, in KZN back in 2011, the ANC succeeded in strengthening their position and weakening the IFP by rewarding Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi with a deputy cabinet post for splitting from the IFP to form the National Freedom Party. It seems the same tactic has been applied in the Western Cape, except this time the reward was a full cabinet post.

Another example is the list of compromised Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chairs announced last month which, according to the myth, Ramaphosa either didn’t know about, or had foisted upon him by the “bad ANC” faction. This is simply not true. Ramaphosa cannot have been oblivious to these appointments, as though he had just jetted in yesterday from a distant planet with smart cities and bullet trains.

Ironically, Ramaphosa is the one now preaching ANC unity, while the media commentators persist with the “two ANCs” message on his behalf. It is a dangerous, ahistorical fiction that fails to recognise the political power of the collective in the ANC.

A related myth is that Ramaphosa needs protection from his enemies within the party. This myth is spread by those who called for a “stronger mandate” for Ramaphosa ahead of the elections.

But as they are now fast discovering, it is impossible to give such a mandate to him alone. The effect of this myth has been to destroy accountability and absolve the ANC of its wrongdoings.

Here is a president who received half a million rand from corrupt Bosasa, who got caught out and misled Parliament, and who then had to change his response, even though there is no legal process in Parliament for changing a response. These are facts, but they are easily ignored by those who believe he is simply a victim of a conspiracy by the bad guys – a victim who now needs our protection.

These myths play beautifully into the hands of the president. Because while this is the dominant narrative, he can do no wrong. And if he appears to do wrong, then it must have been the actions of the forces of evil from whom he needs our protection. The President of the Republic of South Africa has extraordinary and excessive constitutional powers. He doesn’t need protection. He needs to be held to a high standard, and he needs to be accountable for his actions. Canonising him in a myth of good vs evil is a dangerous game for our democracy.

The ANC as a whole, with its vision of a National Democratic Revolution in which the state controls the economy, is destroying South Africa. Buying into a myth which removes accountability and keeps the ANC in power is investing in SA’s demise.

BOKAMOSO: The DA will never sacrifice our core principles on the altar of power

Coalition politics is very likely to be the dominant model of government in South Africa for the foreseeable future.

At the moment, this applies at local government only. But it very nearly led to a change in government in Gauteng in May’s election, and as the ANC continues to disintegrate, I am convinced there will one day be a national coalition government, with the DA at its heart.

For that reason, we must work now to show South Africans the proof of concept, that coalitions can and do work all over the world. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. Most times it’s extraordinarily difficult. But without outright majorities, every opposition party is faced with a simple choice: either to allow the ANC to continue its criminal enterprise through the state, or to remove the ANC from power and form a new government with a plurality of political parties with whom you share at least some core values.

In August 2016, a multiparty governing coalition was formed between the DA and five other parties working with us in select municipalities. In its founding agreement, the coalition committed to the following:

  • Constitutionalism, which includes respect for the rule of law, separation of powers, and the independence of the Courts;
  • Non-racialism;
  • Free and fair elections;
  • Devolution of powers to provinces and municipalities, where capacity is established;
  • Building a capable state exemplified by a professional, efficient and non-partisan civil service
  • A free media;
  • Improving service delivery, particularly to poor and vulnerable South Africans;
  • Eradicating poverty and creating opportunity and security for all South Africans;
  • Creating an inclusive local government structure that respects the self-actualisation of the heritage, language and culture of all South Africans.

From as far back as 2006, when the ANC was removed from power in the City of Cape Town by a fragile seven-party governing coalition, we have remained consistent in our approach to coalitions. We will work with any political party that shares our core values of constitutionalism, non-racialism, the rule of law, a market-based economy, the eradication of corruption, and the speeding up of the delivery of basic services to all.

I want to be clear: the DA is not and will never be in power for power’s sake. We exist to deliver excellent, clean government that extends opportunities and improves lives. That is our strongest offer to voters, and any compromise on that would be self-defeating. Our consideration is whether there is any prospect of governing to the standards we set ourselves. That is why we went into government in SA’s biggest cities in 2016, expanding our governance footprint to over 15 million South Africans.

In addition to the formal governing coalition, we were happy to have the EFF support us on an issue-by-issue basis. This allowed our coalition governments to pass budgets, IDPs, and begin to turn those cities around after over 20 years of ANC misrule. While imperfect and tricky, these governance arrangements were working.

As with the 2006 coalition government in Cape Town, at no stage has the DA compromised on any of its core values and principles. Rather, we have rooted out billions of rands of corruption; stabilised economies and increased job opportunities; and sped up the delivery of clinics, houses, roads and other basic services to millions of South Africans.

However, there always comes a “red line”, and the demands made by the EFF last month crossed that line.

In a meeting in June, the leadership of the EFF made several demands to the DA, including becoming a formal coalition partner, and demanding the Mayoralty of Tshwane with immediate effect. The quid pro quo would be to reinstate a DA mayor in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The decision to not accede to the EFFs demands was unanimous among all of the coalition partners. It was inconceivable that the EFF could formally join a coalition agreement that doesn’t share any of its values or principles. Moreover, every party rejected the idea of the EFF taking the mayoralty of Tshwane for a number of reasons, including the EFFs action in installing a UDM/ANC coalition government in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Following this decision, the EFF took a decision to not support DA-led coalition governments in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Thabazimbi and Modimolle/Mookgophong.

While it remains unclear as to the extent of the EFFs intentions, we will not relent. Our principles and values will always come first. Should the EFF want to continue working with our coalition governments on an issue by issue, we would be happy to. This arrangement has worked well and been of benefit to all as at a local government level matters are less ideological, and rather service delivery orientated.

However, should the EFF move to force the DA into opposition in these metros and municipalities, we will continue to fight for our values from the opposition benches. We will not sacrifice our principles in order to hold onto power.

That is how a principled organization operates, and that is how I intend to lead the DA.

BOKAMOSO | A plan for our shared tomorrow

The following speech was delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, during the joint sitting for the debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament.

Madam Speaker

Honourable President

Honourable Members

At the very moment a child will be born in South Africa. This child is born in a modern, hi-tech hospital – most likely the same hospital where her parents met her several months ago for the first time on a 3D scan.

They will soon take her home to a safe community where she and her family will be protected by private security. Later she will attend a good school where she will have access to a wide range of subjects that will prepare her for a fast-changing future.

Her path through school, then university and finally into a career stretches out ahead of her. Yes, she will have to work hard at every step of the way, but all the opportunities she needs in life will be there for her to take if she so chooses.

At the same time, another child is also born in South Africa. She is born in a clinic on the outskirts of a small town. Neither of her parents has a steady job. She will live in a poverty-stricken community gripped by fear and crime, with little option of escaping.

She will have no choice but to go to the nearest school, even though most of the children there don’t reach matric, and most of the teachers are regularly absent.

There is no path laid out for her to a future with a degree, a career and security. If she’s lucky enough to finish school, she might be lucky enough to get a job. Any job.

This, Honourable Members, is the reality of our country.

We live in two separate worlds, determined by the circumstances of our birth.

When we speak about inequality, it’s not merely an issue of income or wealth. It’s an inequality of opportunity. An inequality of dreams and possibilities.

We are a country of insiders and outsiders, and right now we’re making no headway in breaking down the walls between these two groups.

The image we were treated to by the President on Thursday evening of a future South Africa with hi-tech cities, high-speed trains and classrooms where children are taught to code and analyse data and no child goes hungry. While these may be experienced by some, the majority are left out and left behind.

Honourable Members,

Three stats released this past month paint the true state of our nation. The first was our record-high broad unemployment rate, which now stands at 38%.

The second was the contraction of our economy by 3.2% this first quarter – the highest in 10 years.

And the third was that our net investment has now fallen for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Read together, these numbers paint a picture of a country in deep, deep trouble. We no longer attract investment, which means we can’t grow the economy, which means that every month more and more South Africans join the ranks of the unemployed.

This is a crisis for us, but I believe we can turn it around if we act now.

Fellow South Africans,

Our priority should be to fix what is broken and build a South Africa where all can be guaranteed an equality of opportunity – be it in the classroom, on the sports field, or in the workplace. The DA is the party of equal shots, not equal outcomes.

To meet these urgent challenges we don’t need dreams. We need money, we need the right people and, most importantly, we need a plan.

And in order to do that, we don’t need to build new smart cities, Honourable President. We need to make our current cities smart.

We must broaden access and connect all young people to the information and the opportunities that still remain available to only a few.

And one place to start, Honourable President, is with our long-overdue spectrum allocation. The longer we delay this, the wider the technology and communications gap becomes, and the longer data prices will not fall.

Instead of a new bullet train, Honourable President, let us rather fix and protect the trains we already have – the trains that are meant to take thousands of ordinary South Africans to jobs and back home every day.

Let us put all our efforts into building a country where black children and white children, city children and rural children, all have quality education and equality of opportunity.

Without bold intervention, challenges don’t simply disappear, as history has repeatedly shown us.

Honourable members

By the end of the 19th Century, cities like New York and London were facing a crisis that seemed to have no solution. As these cities grew and developed, the tens of thousands of horses needed to transport people around had left the streets knee-deep in manure.

New York had to employ an army of workers to clear the streets every day. In London, The Times newspaper reported back in 1894 that every street in the city would be buried under nine feet of manure within 50 years if nothing changed.

Of course, this didn’t happen. And the reason for this is that a bold new solution, driven by new technology, had made the horse-drawn carriage obsolete.

Henry Ford’s new and affordable motorcar had replaced horses in the cities, the manure problem went away, and the course of history was changed forever.

Honourable Members, if we are to overcome our challenges here in South Africa, it will also require innovative and solutions – not doing more of the same.

But all President Ramaphosa could give us on Thursday was, to use another Henry Ford analogy, a faster horse.

We don’t need a faster horse, Mr President, we need a bold plan to steer us towards the South Africa of the future. A plan that responds to the three most important global drivers of the future, which are climate, technology, and disease management.

Fellow South Africans, the future is upon us

We must ask ourselves what kind of planet will our children inherit, will they be prepared with the right skills to step into this future, and can we ensure that our population remains healthy and resilient? These are the questions our plan needs to address.

Today we have floods in KZN and droughts in the Western Cape. This is the future we must plan for, and so before we build smart cities, we should build sustainable cities.

Elsewhere in the world countries are using smart technology to keep their people healthy and safe. Solutions like smartphone screening to detect cervical cancer. This should be part of our plan too.

I hear everyone speaking of the fourth industrial revolution these days, but I’m not sure they always know what this is. Giving our children tablets at school is not the fourth industrial revolution, but preparing them for jobs that don’t even exist yet is.

The overwhelming majority of all new jobs will not come from mining or retail, or even manufacturing. They will come from fields such as data mining, digital design, coding and a host of technology-driven micro-enterprises.

We need a plan that modernizes our economy for the future. Because if we don’t, we will meet the same fate as the Kodaks and Nokias – and soon, the Multichoices – of the world.

These companies seemed to hold invincible monopolies, but they failed to keep up with the changing world. They failed to modernise, and they got left behind.

Today hardly anyone uses a Nokia phone. Children don’t even know about Kodak. That’s how fast you become irrelevant.

We must have a vision of our place in the future. We must think big, and we must know where we are going.

Our vision is One South Africa for All in which each child has access to quality education, a modernized economy that puts at least a job in every home, access to healthcare and basic services for all, and where citizens live in safe communities free from crime and corruption.

A South Africa that is reconciled, prosperous, and a beacon of hope for developing countries across the world.

But that’s only one part of it. The other part – the more important part – is how we get there.

Doing what’s best for the country inevitably means the President will have to make decisions that will be met with resistance within his own party. That is why his SONA was devoid of any meaningful reform, because it would mean:

Standing up to powerful unions and alliance partners.

Upsetting the network of patronage that has been so good to so many cadres for so long.

Rethinking policy that hasn’t worked in decades.

And stepping out of a mind-set and an ideology that belongs in a different time.

None of this is easy, which is why it hasn’t happened. And so instead of real, tough reforms, we are stuck with yet more vague promises of a “faster horse”.

While our nation is in deep crisis, I believe we can turn it around if we act now. We can begin building a modernized African country comprised of strong individuals who are able to compete with the world’s best.

They say the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is right now.

The same goes for the reforms needed in our country and in our economy. We could have used these reforms twenty years ago, but since that didn’t happen, we need to implement them right now. We need to plant the trees for our children’s future, knowing that we might not sit under those trees ourselves.

Today, propose seven reforms that will enable us to become the modern, inclusive country we all dream of.

The first reform is to our SOEs, and particularly to Eskom. The last thing we should be doing now is committing ourselves to a decade or more of bailouts for Eskom.

We must immediately split Eskom into two entities and open the market to more independent power producers – particularly solar power in our sun-rich nation.

Solar power is to the energy sector what Uber became to the transport industry, and we cannot afford to be left surprised and left behind.

We must allow well-functioning municipalities to buy directly from IPPs. Eskom requires us to move away from being coal dependent to other technologies.

While we’re splitting Eskom, we must also sell off SAA. It is a luxury we neither need nor can afford.

The second reform is to our education.

Let us introduce charter schools across South Africa, and particularly in our poor and rural communities. These are partnership schools between the private sector and public sector where children have access to schools less than 5km from home that have the best teachers, infrastructure and technology.

Not only will this clip the wings of the powerful and destructive union SADTU, it will also offer parents real choice. We can’t have our children bundled into taxis and sent far from home just to receive a decent education.

Yes, teaching our young children to code and analyse data will be crucial in preparing them for the future. But how can we do so in schools where ten-year-old children cannot even read for meaning? That’s where we must start.

The third reform is to our healthcare.

Forget about the NHI, Mr. President. It cannot work, it’s own pilot projects have shown this. Please stop it now before we waste further resources and time on an unrealistic pipe dream for which we simply don’t have the money.

You will find, in the DA’s Our Health Plan, a range of solutions that will make quality healthcare available to all South Africans without destroying our national budget. Solutions that provide access to free primary healthcare for all that can be rolled out quicker, cheaper and more fairly.

Let us also invest in smart healthcare technology, as this is the future of disease management and prevention.

The fourth reform is to our labour legislation.

If we want to make South Africa an investment destination once more, then we have no choice but to relax our labour laws.

Our current rigid legislation has not only driven investment away, it has also created two classes of citizen – the employed and the unemployed – and has made it near impossible for people enter the economy and find work.

Let’s relook at our tax structure and introduce tax incentives for people who create new jobs and setup a Jobs and Justice Fund so we can invest in research for economies of the future.

And let’s also relook the national minimum wage in its current form. We should be talking about sector specific minimum wages, as well as a possible op-out clause for young work-seekers.

The fifth reform is the building of a capable state.

If the shocking revelations at the Zondo Commission have confirmed one thing, it is that cadre deployment and monopoly politics are a one-way ticket to state capture.

Whether these deployments are to government, to SOEs or to Chapter Nine Institutions, the interests of the party always get put before the interests of the people.

Mr. President, you should lead by example and stop delaying and frustrating the Public Protector’s investigation in your Bosasa dealings.

Let the Public Protector do her work, and once the report is finalized, appear before a Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee so that the matter can be dealt with in an open and transparent manner.

You spoke of trimming the size of the cabinet, Honourable President, but then you undid this by keeping on all the deputy ministers and, in some cases, doubling up on them.

It is entirely possible to cut the number of ministries even further to just 15, and to do away with deputy ministers.

The sixth reform is extending property ownership to millions of dispossessed South Africans.

Let us speed up the delivery of title deeds – both urban and rural – so that all South Africans can benefit from the freedom of owning their property. This will create certainty in the agricultural sector, providing more job opportunities for our people.

Both black and white South Africans must be able to access the benefit of owning private property as an economic asset that allows the transfer of wealth from one generation to another. Let’s give shares to South Africans so that they can hand over a future which was disrupted by our painful past.

And the seventh reform is to devolve the power over our police services to provincial governments.

If we want to keep South Africans safe in their homes and on their streets, we need to turn SAPS into a well-resourced, well-trained and highly professional crime fighting unit.

But more urgently, we need to put the police service in the hands of the government that is best-placed to respond to the needs of the community. And by this I mean the provincial government.

We must also do the same with our passenger rail services. Hand them over to provincial governments so that we can ensure that hard-working South Africans have a safe and reliable commute to work and back home.

These seven reforms will pull our country back from the brink and give us a foundation from which we can contemplate any future we can dream of.

Honourable Members

Ten years from now I want to see a South Africa that looks completely different from what we see today.

DA governments are already forging ahead, and have begun innovating, modernizing and growing the cities, towns and province we govern.

That’s why where we govern, you’ll find unemployment at the lowest in the country due to our obsessive focus on city-led economic growth and innovation in sectors such as agro-processing and tourism.

Today the Cape Town-Stellenbosch tech ecosystem is the most productive in Africa, employing over 40 000 people – more than Lagos and Nairobi combined – and rightly earning the title of ‘Africa’s tech hub.’

In terms of renewal energy, more than 8 in 10 municipalities in the Western Cape already have laws in place to allow for independent solar energy generation and most of them are ready to sell clean energy back into the grid.

This is what city led economic development looks like and why we continue to take the ANC government to Court over the right to diversify energy and buy directly from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

In terms of education, the DA-run Western Cape’s investment in the future of eLearning has seen over R1.4 billion invested over the past 5 years – delivering 1 160 refreshed computer labs, 28 870 devices for learners, 11 000 resources on our online portal.

To date, 70% of all teachers are trained in eTraining and over 80% of schools are connected to free internet. The Western Cape’s retention rate from Grades 10 – 12 is the highest in the country, at around 63% for the 2018 matric results. No other province managed to achieve a retention rate of over 50%.

In healthcare, the Western Cape is only province to have digitised patient records in public healthcare, spanning 54 hospitals, 300 primary healthcare facilities, and 13 million patient records. The province also is home to the eco-friendly Khayelitsha Hospital, which provides free access to healthcare for tens of thousands of poor South Africans.

The DA has already begun working. It’s now time Mr. Ramaphosa joins our efforts and collaborates with us at all spheres of government to build the country we all deserve.

Today I appeal to you to join with us in our plan.

Allow our governments to keep the lights on

Execute the plan for us to have trains that work

Devolve the power of police to a provincial competency so we can effectively fight crime

Free up small business to create work for our people

Sell off our beleaguered SOEs

And modernize and de-unionize our children’s basic education system

We have a plan, so help us with this plan, Mr. President.

If you’re prepared to do that, you will have an ally in me and in the DA. But if you can’t or won’t, then I’m afraid you’ll need to make way for a DA government that can and will create a better South Africa for All.

BOKAMOSO | Shaping the DA to shape the future

Mark my words, the DA has a central role to play in securing a prosperous future for South Africa. No amount of hype around a “new dawn” can obscure the reality on the ground, which is that South Africa is sliding backwards. That reality is reflected in four stark facts about our economy that have come to light in the past month.

First, broad unemployment (which includes those who have given up looking for work) is now at a record-high of 9.9 million people, equating to 38% of our workforce. In the first quarter of 2019, unemployment grew in every province except the DA-run Western Cape, where it fell.

Second, our economy contracted by 3.2% (annualized) in the first three months of this year, the biggest quarterly contraction in a decade. And it is unlikely to grow substantially anytime soon because: third, net investment (as measured by gross fixed capital formation) declined in the first quarter of 2019 for the fifth consecutive quarter, by 4.5%.

And fourth, the recent resignations of the CEOs of Eskom and SAA suggest that the government is simply not prepared to take the necessary steps to fix our state-owned entities.

These outcomes put us in the perilous situation of rising impoverishment and discontent. They will persist until we South Africans reform our economy. We need to fundamentally change the way we do things and that means facing down the various special interest groups that benefit from the status quo.

This will be very difficult for Ramaphosa’s government to achieve because they rely on these groups for political support.

Thus the DA must succeed in its mission of uniting South Africans around the principles required for a successful state: the rule of law, non-racialism, and a market-driven economy coupled with a capable state that generates opportunities for all.

We need to succeed soon, because we South Africans are still grappling with our 20th century challenges even as 21st century challenges of technology and climate change hurtle towards us.

Our objective is to occupy the centre of South Africa’s political landscape. We are not a party for the right or for the left. Nor do we aspire to represent the interests of any specific groups. Our objective is to promote the national interest.

The DA has experienced rapid growth since 1994, and especially since 2016, when the number of people we govern for (through provincial, metro or municipal governments) almost tripled from around 6 million to around 15 million people. We are a different, more diverse and much larger animal now than the party we were a few years ago.

These changes have brought on challenges associated with increased complexity. We have therefore initiated a comprehensive party-wide review, to assess what changes we need to make to our structures, systems and policies going forward in order to keep growing support for our mission.

Our future is about doing the basics right: building trust amongst South Africans through activism, branches and campaigning, and through good governance. Overall, our governments are in great shape to continue to deliver. But we are now more focused than ever to demonstrate the DA difference in government, and to create thriving market-based economies where we govern.

So we’ll be strengthening our Governance Unit to give it the clout it needs to provide the requisite support to our provincial, metro and municipal governments so they can deliver the best possible service to citizens.

And we’ll be working actively to build national support for economic reform. In 2018, we postponed a summit on growth and redress in order to focus on our 2019 election campaign. That summit is now firmly on the agenda.

Please join us as we shape the future of our nation.

BOKAMOSO | The real change we need starts in Ramaphosa’s cabinet

Cyril Ramaphosa’s swearing in as President of South Africa marks a potential new beginning for our country. I congratulate him and wish him well. If he is genuine about reforming South Africa’s economy for investment, growth and jobs, he will have the DA’s full support.

Urgent reform is now critical. Ramaphosa has a window of opportunity, a honeymoon period to administer the bitter pills that can arrest our slide and set us on course for sustained progress. Failure to undertake the necessary changes will lead to a ratings downgrade to junk status, bankruptcy and widespread unnecessary suffering.

President Ramaphosa needs to use the opportunity to be honest with the nation about the structural reform South Africa needs to reverse our decline and ensure long-term success. He should explain to people why populist solutions, no matter how attractive they may appear, will ultimately lead to South Africa’s downfall, as they have done in Zimbabwe, Venezuela and elsewhere.

Performance must be measured by falling unemployment and poverty rates, steady improvements in real education outcomes, increased life expectancy, reduced crime rates, and a rolling back of national debt. Here I outline some key cabinet changes that would signal a commitment to the reforms required to achieve these outcomes.

The economic cluster should be reduced to just three ministries, to enable more coherent economic policy: finance, state-owned entities and jobs. Appointing the right people to these three ministries is critical.

The minister of finance must be committed and authorized to set a debt ceiling. The public sector wage bill must be brought down as a percentage of our national budget, so that more funds can be invested in the infrastructure required for economic growth.

The public enterprises minister must be willing to privatise non-strategic SOEs such as SAA, and to restructure Eskom to enable a private-sector-led transition to cheaper, cleaner energy sources. This requires a minister who will stand up to union bosses so that the nation’s need for reliable, affordable electricity to power businesses and homes prevails over demands for protected jobs at inflated salaries.

The minister of jobs must be someone who will craft every policy area for maximum job creation, recognising that entrepreneurs and investors are the solution not the problem.

Labour legislation, especially that which restricts small business, must be significantly liberalised. Broad unemployment, currently at a record high of 38%, is South Africa’s single biggest problem. Our labour legislation must be designed for job creation for the many, not job protection for the few.

The Mining Charter should be scrapped entirely. There has been almost no new investment in mines in the past decade, and unless this is reversed, our mining industry will further implode.

We don’t need a separate tourism ministry. We need a jobs minister committed to the visa reform required to boost tourism and investment. It must be easier for tourists and those with critical skills to enter South Africa.

Similarly, we should do away with a ministry of trade and industry in favour of a jobs minister committed to making the whole country a special economic zone, so that our firms can compete globally.

Agriculture and land reform should be merged into one ministry, with a minister who understands that expropriation without compensation (EWC) will be devastating for agriculture and for the banking sector.

Ramaphosa needs to appoint a basic education minister who is committed and strong enough to stand up to SADTU. Teachers need to be properly assessed, trained, monitored and incentivised. This will not happen until SADTU’s iron grip on our education system is released.

The sports ministry should be merged with basic education, to achieve bottom-up transformation in sport, while science and technology should be merged with higher education to better foster innovation.

The health minister must be someone who sees the private sector as an ally rather than a threat. South Africa simply cannot afford to implement National Health Insurance in its current guise, which amounts to nationalising the current private health sector. It would be disastrous. Rather, we should concentrate on fixing our public hospitals, expanding access to primary healthcare clinics, and on leveraging the private health sector for maximum public benefit.

Significant control must be devolved to those provinces with the capacity to manage their own police forces. Effective crime-fighting needs localised knowledge and intelligence on the ground. The DA-run Western Cape is seeking a degree of control over policing in the province, and we hope the minister of police will act in the public interest.

Cities should also be given more control. They are the key centres of future development, the most efficient locus for delivering services and extending opportunities to more people. SA needs a minister of local government who understands this and who pushes for more devolution of power to cities, be it to run their own railways or to purchase their own electricity directly from suppliers.

Cape Town, for example, stands ready to develop an integrated, single-ticket public transport system for bus and rail. Many Western Cape municipalities have the systems in place to purchase power directly from independent producers.

The environment ministry cannot be a dumping site for disgraced ministers. Rather, it must be recognised as critical to our long-term future. It needs someone who recognises the threats posed by climate change and ecosystem degradation and has the courage and vision to drive practical, innovative solutions. This person will need to interact closely with many other ministries, to ensure resilience is built into every aspect of our society.

Home affairs needs a minister who understands the importance of an efficient, controlled immigration process coupled with secure borders. The current uncontrolled influx of undocumented immigrants makes planning and budgeting difficult and ineffective.

State security must have a minister who can professionalise the department and get it focused on ensuring the nation’s security and fighting corruption rather than on waging factional battles.

Finally, I have proposed that Ramaphosa convene a summit on race and reconciliation. Our nation needs an honest conversation about the best way to build an inclusive economy that generates opportunity for all. If we are to succeed, we need to find each other and start working together as one nation with one shared future.

BOKAMOSO | 12 great reasons to vote DA

The following are two lists giving some great reasons to vote DA and some great reasons not to “vote for Cyril”. We hope they will be helpful in winning over those who are still undecided about how best to vote this week.

12 reason to vote DA

  1. One-party dominance is failing SA. Our democracy urgently needs a strong alternative. We must build this at the centre of our politics and society. This is where the DA is located.
  2. The DA is the only sizable party that stands for the rule of law and a market-driven economy.
  3. DA is the only party with a solid track record in government. No other party on the national list has demonstrated its ability to run a national or provincial government efficiently and honestly.
  4. 15 out of the 20 best-run municipalities in SA are DA-led. (Source Good Governance Africa’s Governance Performance Index 2019.)
  5. DA-led Western Cape is SA’s top-performing province for financial stability and governance. (Source: Ratings Afrika’s Municipal Financial Stability Index 2019)
  6. DA-led Western Cape has the lowest broad unemployment: 23% compared with SA average of 37%. (Source: StatsSA QLFS)
  7. DA-led Western Cape achieves the best basic education outcomes – highest retention of children in school until end of matric. Retained 63% of kids in 2018. All other provinces retained under 50%. Highest real matric pass rate.
  8. DA-led Western Cape achieves the best health outcomes. Life expectancy is the highest in the country, has increased by a projected 7 years since DA took over in 2009. And 90% of people live within 30 minutes of a clinic.
  9. DA-led Western Cape success rate of land reform farms is 72%, compared to 10% success rate for SA as a whole.
  10. DA-led Midvaal municipality is the only municipality in Gauteng to come in the top-20 best-run municipalities in SA. (Source Good Governance Africa’s Governance Performance Index 2019.) Has achieved 5 consecutive years of clean audits. (Source: Auditor General)
  11. DA-led Western Cape has by far the best track record in spending public money on the public. Achieved 83% clean audits with Gauteng coming a distant second at 52% (Source: Auditor General’s report for 2017/18.)
  12. Cape Town is SA’s best-run metro. (Source: Ratings Afrika’s Municipal Financial Stability Index 2019)

12 great reasons not to “vote for Cyril”

  1. To “vote for Cyril” you must vote ANC. This gives the whole party a mandate, not just Cyril.
  2. A strong result for the ANC will only embolden the crooks in the party. (Ramaphosa only won the ANC presidency because the ANC did so poorly in the 2016 local government elections. Accountability works.)
  3. The ANC’s candidate lists prove that Cyril has already lost the battle against the crooks in his party. The second most trusted ANC politician after Cyril is Pravin Gordhan who is only 73 on the national list.
  4.  “Voting for Cyril” is high-risk because if Cyril is recalled, DD Mabuza becomes president. (Mabuza looted and killed his way to the top and is close to Malema.)
  5.  “Voting for Cyril” gets the Trojan Horse thing back to front: Cyril is the mechanism to get the ANC back into power, not the other way around.
  6.  South Africa is on its knees after 25 years of one-party dominance by a patronage-driven party that works only to enrich a connected elite. Our democracy urgently needs a strong alternative.
  7.  A weak ANC mandate coupled with a strong showing for the DA (or some other reform-minded party) can only strengthen Cyril’s so-called reform agenda.
  8. There is little evidence of Cyril’s reform agenda other than his tepid fight against corruption (not a single ANC leader has been charged 14 months into his presidency). So far, he has been forced to support the attack on property rights and the forced investment of pension funds into chronically corrupt, bankrupt state-owned enterprises as well as the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank and of SA’s health system.
  9. Cyril was tasked to fix Eskom in 2015 and today the power utility is in a death spiral and looks set to take our economy down with it.
  10. He is complicit in state capture, having been head of the ANC’s cadre deployment committee during the worst years of state capture.
  11. Cyril’s son (Andile Ramaphosa) has received R2 million in consulting fees from corrupt Bosasa since Cyril became president. This suggests the ANC will continue to be a party that enriches the ANC-connected elite at the expense of the rest.
  12. To tackle SA’s education, energy and unemployment crises, Cyril needs to stare down the unions. This he will never do, as COSATU forms his core support base within the ANC.

SPECIAL BOKAMOSO | Let us vote for our hopes, not our fears

The following speech was delivered yesterday by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the party’s Phetogo Final Rally at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg.

My fellow South Africans,

These words written by Sankomota three decades ago could have been written for us today.

Heyi wena Afrika

Kgale o dutse hae

Tsamaya lo ipatlela tsa bophelo

Tsoha o iketsetse.

Vuka baba, vuka

Life has been passing you by

Follow your star, it’s now or never

Hayi, you’ve got to make it better

Africa rise. South Africa rise.

We have a date with destiny. We have, before us, a moment described so well by Winston Churchill. We’ve been tapped on the shoulder and asked to do something great – something fitted to our talents.

This is our moment in history. It’s now or never.

Fellow South Africans,

Let me begin by sending my deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the devastating floods that swept through KZN and parts of the Eastern Cape.

This was a stark reminder of how close we are to the edge. We dare not ignore these red flags on climate change any longer.

Fellow Democrats,

What a wonderful sight this is here in Dobsonville today! If you want to know how far we have come as a party, just look around you.

The incredible energy here tells me one thing: We have the momentum. We are ready to bring change!

The DA is bigger and stronger than ever before. We are more diverse than ever before. We govern in more places than ever before.

We are united in our mission of building one South Africa for all.

The DA is the only party for all South Africans, and you will find us everywhere, from Durban to Dobsonville, from Chatsworth to Carletonville, and from Motherwell to Mitchells Plain.

We are young and old, black and white. We are Christian, Muslim, Jewish and non-believers.

We are men and women, gay and straight. We’re in cities, we’re in villages and we’re on farms.

Street by street, ward by ward, town by town, we are turning this country blue. And it is thanks to people like you: our blue wave of activists, volunteers and advocates for change.

Thank you to our staff members. Thank you to our public reps. Thank you to those who serve in our many governments.

Thank you to the thousands of men and women who put on the blue T-shirt every week and go out there to tell the DA story.

Thank you for your bravery. I know that challenging the status quo is never easy, but you are proving our critics and the pollsters wrong.

Thanks to you, millions of South Africans already wake up every day under a DA government.

You are the reason we’re going to bring change to the Northern Cape.

You are the reason we are going to bring change to Gauteng.

You are the reason we can retain the Western Cape and challenge the ANC nationally.

You are the reason we will ultimately choose a better future for South Africa.

I thank you, and our country thanks you.

I personally want to thank my family, and my Lord and Saviour who has protected me throughout this time.

Fellow South Africans,

On Wednesday we have an appointment with history. An appointment we must honour, because there is so much at stake.

It is a moment that comes round once every five years, when citizens are called upon to do something great.

I know South Africans are scared about the future. All of us – black and white, young and old – are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

We worry about the country we’re leaving for our children. We worry about what opportunities there might be for them one day. We worry if they will be safe.

As a nation we worry more than most, and we have good reason to.

We also have good reason to feel disappointed. To feel let down by the people who were meant to deliver and protect our freedom.

One can’t help but wonder how the generation that sacrificed so much for our freedom throughout the struggle would feel about how things turned out today.

How would they feel about the R1.2 trillion that was stolen during state capture?

How would they feel about all the waste and excess – the wealth and the cars and the VIP bodyguards – that were claimed like some kind of reward?

Just think how different South Africa could have looked today if it weren’t for this greed.

Think about our children who go to school hungry, only to sit in crowded classrooms where teachers either can’t teach, or simply don’t turn up for work.

Think about the girls who drop out of school because they cant afford sanitary towels.

These children will have nothing to show for twelve years of schooling. Half of them won’t even write matric. Their future was stolen before it even began.

Think about the 57 people who are murdered here every single day. Farmers and farm workers, brutally killed.

Or the 110 women who report that they have been raped, not to mention the hundreds that don’t report it.

Our homes have become prisons, whilst the criminals sit at home.

Think about children and mothers sleeping on hospital floors.

Think about 144 mental health patients who died at the hands of their government at Esidimeni.

Think about 34 striking miners who were shot down and killed by the hand of their government at Marikana.

Think about all the men and women in our cities, towns and villages who have no hope of finding a job. That number is almost 10 million, and it grows every day.

Think about the millions of homes without a single income. Homes where there is often nothing to eat because the month is just too long for a tiny social grant.

Four out of every ten homes must live like this.

I have seen this in many provinces. Over the past few months I travelled to every corner of South Africa, and I witnessed the best and the worst of our country.

I met incredible people committed to building our country into something truly great, but I also saw the despair that poverty brings. And I saw this in far too many places.

I met a woman in Douglas in the Northern Cape who told me she has been hungry for as far as she can remember. She had nothing to eat in her house.

It was heart-breaking, but she represents half of our country. Over 50% of our people live below the poverty line, and this number is getting bigger.

We are on borrowed time in this country, using borrowed money. But all things borrowed eventually run out.

We will run out of diesel at the end of the elections, and the lights will go out.

And we will certainly run out of money at a growth rate of just 0.8%.

Life is getting hard for citizens. Vat is up, fuel is up and the cost of living is going up.

We are in deep trouble. We‘re beyond the point where we can say, “your side of the boat is leaking”. All of us are now drowning.

Fellow South Africans,

I am angry. I am angry that the very people who were elected to lead us, ended up stealing from us. And what’s most offensive is that they stole from the poor.

They took the money that was meant to make life liveable for our most vulnerable citizens, and stuck it in their pockets.

The ANC were once the leaders in the struggle for freedom, but today they stand directly in the way of freedom for millions of South Africans.

They were once a movement, but today they are a monument – a mere relic of the past.

They were once our liberators, but today we need to be liberated from them.

That is why I’m angry.

And now they’ve elected a leader who wants you to believe he has just arrived in time to save us. But he was there all along.

Cyril Ramaphosa was there, as Deputy President, when the state was looted.

He was there when Zuma and the Guptas were protected in vote after vote after vote. His name is recorded in these votes as one of those who betrayed us.

This is a man who has taken no action against those in his party responsible for the Esidimeni deaths.

This is a man who called on the police to take action against mineworkers striking for a living wage. The next day 34 of them were killed.

This is a man who watched the looting of Eskom and Prasa, while he was tasked with fixing these institutions.

This is a man who took bribe money from Bosasa, and allowed his son to take their money too.

He wants a country where all things are nationalised – healthcare, the Reserve Bank, pension funds. I see the coalition towards this is strong. They are already offering each other cabinet posts.

Cyril Ramaphosa is no saviour. He is part of the ANC that caused so much despair and suffering these past 25 years. And now they want another five years to loot.

Is this what we want for our country? Or do we want a different outcome?

Because that is the simple choice that lies before us: We can either choose five more years of corruption and empty promises, or we can change.

We can either choose a future no different to our present, or we can choose a future with at least one job in every home, food on every table and opportunities for our children.

I know my answer to this: We need change, and we need it now.

But, fellow South Africans, here’s the thing about change: It is never easy. It’s uncomfortable. It can be scary.

Change requires us to leave behind everything we’ve become used to and step into a place we’ve never been before. It asks us to take the road less travelled.

We are told, by those who want to hold on to power, that we must fear change. They tell us change will paralyze our country.

They tell us coalitions don’t work. They tell us to mistrust each other. They tell us that our problem in this country is our different races.

They want us to fear change so that we keep things as they are. But we dare not listen to them.

We need to find, within ourselves, something stronger than fear. And that is hope and bravery. Hope to see a better tomorrow, and the bravery to march towards it.

If South Africans had been driven by fear in the past, then Apartheid would still be in place. But people were driven by hope instead. And so they showed courage and they opted for change.

Our moment of courage is now.

Maya Angelou once said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

If we want to undergo our own transformation as a country into something better – something more beautiful and more fair – then we have to be prepared to go through this change ourselves.

It is a normal and necessary part of any democracy.

And while I know it’s scary, this change has already begun.

We are no longer the South Africa of 1994. Our country has changed. And parties have also changed – some for the better, and some for the worst.

I am extremely proud of the DA’s growth over the past 25 years.

We went from a small party to an opposition party, and then a party of government.

Growing from just 1.7% in 1994 to a party that governed four metros after the 2016 election has allowed us to touch the lives of millions of South Africans with our brand of clean, honest government.

In this time we also changed to reflect the incredible diversity of our country.

Today you will find the DA in every community, fighting for the rights of all South Africans.

You will also find us at the heart of coalition governments, as we build a strong centre in South African politics, free from the divisions of the past.

The DA represents the future of our changing nation. We may not be perfect, but we’re honest, we work hard and we have a plan to completely reform our country.

It has been shown that 15 of the 20 best-run municipalities in South Africa are governed by the DA.

Fellow South Africans, this is the change I hope for:

I want to reform our politics so that people of all races can work together towards one goal, instead of retreating back into separate corners.

It’s not a choice between different flags; it’s only one. One South Africa for all.

Ours must be a country where the rights of minorities are defended by the majority. Because our project is no longer freedom fighting, but freedom protecting and enhancing.

I want to reform our economy so that we can break down the walls between the insiders and the outsiders.

I want every home to have at least one job. That way all South Africans will have the dignity of an income, and there will be food on every table, every day.

We can’t have our children become pensioners who leave school only to sit around the house living off someone’s pension.

I want to reform our government to make it efficient and honest. Because the one we have now with its massive cabinet and its bloated SOEs will bankrupt us.

I want provinces to run police and passenger rail services. And I want cities to stand at the forefront of economic growth.

Smaller, more local and more transparent – that’s the government I want.

And I want to reform our society so that we value life and family and community once more.

I want people to live close to work opportunities, so that migrant labour doesn’t tear families apart.

I want girls to finish school. I want our mothers and our sisters to be safe from abuse at home. I want all who live with HIV to have access to medicine. And I want child grants to increase so that they can sustain our children.

That is what this country will look like under a DA government, and I am proud to say we are ready to deliver this. We have grown into this role.

The DA has changed, and for the better.

But now you need to change too.

You need to be brave and perhaps do something you haven’t done before when you go to vote on Wednesday.

Because I’ll tell you this about bravery: It always pays off. Sometimes not immediately. Sometimes only for a next generation. But it is always rewarded.

Our hero, Caster Semenya, has had to be very brave throughout her athletics career. She’s had to put up with the kind of humiliation and suffering that we can hardly imagine. But she has remained strong.

And one day, 20 years from now, we won’t be discussing the IAAF and its rulings. We will be discussing the fact that little girls can compete freely – that they can be who they are and run where they want to. Thanks to her bravery.

Our history is full of brave people who paved the way for others to live better lives.

Helen Suzman’s bravery in Parliament, where she was a lone voice for many years, made life better for South Africans.

Rosa Parks’s bravery on that bus in Alabama 64 years ago changed American society forever.

It takes guts to be one of the first to stand up for change.

I know there are many of you here today who know exactly what I’m talking about.

But we can’t let this weaken our resolve. We must stand tall and let the world know that we care about our country, and that’s why we choose change.

We will not be guided by the fear that makes us stick with what we know. We will be guided by our hope for a better tomorrow.

My fellow South Africans, our hope in this country – our only hope – lies with the DA.

But in choosing the DA, I don’t expect anyone’s loyalty for life. I’m not even asking you to like the DA.

I’m only asking you to give change a chance.

I’m asking you to lend us your vote for the next five years. That’s it. Five years at a time.

When we reach the end of this period, judge us. See if we did the things we said we’d do.

If so, then lend us your vote again for another five years. But if we didn’t – if it turns out we broke our promises to you – then fire us again.

Your vote is your power, but only if you use it right.

Your vote cannot simply be an expression of who you are: your race, your language, your culture or your religion.

It has to be an expression of what you want for your country, for your future and for your children.

Your vote has to say: “I will not be abused by anyone, even if it is a party I love. I will not allow them to take away the future of my children. I will be brave and I will choose change.”

So I want to propose a deal today – a contract with you. In return for your vote, I pledge that a DA-led government will do these things:

We will put an end to the corruption that has ruined our country and betrayed our people. Any politician or official found guilty will go to jail for 15 years.

We will lift our failed economy back into real growth. Not the ANC’s best-case scenario of 1% or 1.5%, but proper, sustained growth that will create millions of jobs.

We will cut the size of the state, reduce the cabinet by half, and trim away all the luxuries that this ANC government has become used to, so that we can increase child grants to living grants.

The days of living like kings at the expense of the people will be over.

We will transform the South African Police Service into a well-trained, well-equipped and highly motivated crime fighting unit. People will be safe in their streets once more.

We will defend our Constitution against anyone who seeks to destroy it.

We will defend every right contained in it, for every single South African. Including the right to own property, as we have already done in Johannesburg, Tshwane and the Western Cape, where more people are now land owners under the DA.

We will uphold the Rule of Law. This means one set of laws for all.

No matter if you’re the president, the president’s son, a cabinet minister or a wealthy businessman or woman, if you commit a crime you will face the consequences.

Unlike this government who sends their guilty to parliament instead of jail. I say let’s use our votes to put them in prison, not parliament.

We will cherish the young people in our country and make it our top priority to give them a future worth living for.

This means fixing education, fighting drugs and gangs, and opening every possible door of opportunity for them.

And we will never, ever divide the people of this country and mobilise them against each other.

We will never return to the days of “us and them”. Our South Africa will be inclusive, unified and strong.

That’s my pledge to you. That’s my side of the contract. In return, I will need your vote.

This is not a popularity contest. It’s not a pageant. This about competence. I’m not asking you to marry me, I’m merely asking you to employ a government with a proven track record.

If I dishonour this contract, then you have every right to walk away from it. Then you have every right to fire the DA. But let us first prove to you that we can do this job.

Because I know we can. I have no doubt that the DA can turn South Africa around.

We have already done so wherever we’ve had the opportunity to put together a government and implement our policies.

Without fail, DA governments in towns, in metros and in provinces have proven that we are the only party that gets things done.

We are the only party that brings real, tangible change to people’s lives.

We are the only party committed to building capable and honest governments.

And we are the only party that can put a job in every home.

That is all that matters when you go to make your mark on Wednesday.

We have to choose change, or we will lose everything we once thought possible for our country.

I know this is hard for those who have only ever known one party. I was in that position too once. But looking back now, embracing change was the best thing I ever did.

We stand on the shoulders of those who turned against liberation movements and chose change.

I read a quote the other day that said: “Great things never come from comfort zones.”

We need to step out of our comfort zone if we want great things for our country.

We must look to the future when we make our choice on Wednesday.

We must think of our children when we make our choice on Wednesday.

But above all, we must be brave when we make our choice on Wednesday.

I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.

Let us remove this ANC government in Gauteng.

Let us remove them in the Northern Cape.

We can even do so nationally if everyone who supports the DA turns out to vote.

Let’s go and write the first chapter of our new story.

Let’s use our democracy the way it was meant to be used.

Let’s vote for our hopes, not our fears.

Let us be brave and give change a chance. We must all turn out. All voters.

O dutse o phuthile matsoho.

Afrika, hayi hale!

O re o shebile dintho tsa mahala.

You gonna wait forever!

O phutile matsoho,

O shebile banna ha ba sebetsa,

We ma!

We cant now gare phute matsoho.

This is your moment.

Let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our land!

Amandla!

BOKAMOSO | Tragic KZN floods are a call to action on climate breakdown

The tragic floods that have taken the lives of 85 people in KZN should not be seen in isolation. Together with the drought in the Western Cape, the wildfires on the Garden Route and the intense tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth that have hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, they are part of a bigger picture of climate breakdown.

They are red flags we ignore at our peril, dots we can’t afford not to join. It is no longer disputed that the growing intensity and frequency of these “natural” disasters is due to the increased levels of carbon in our atmosphere due to our over-reliance on fossil fuels. The resulting greenhouse effect is growing ever stronger, the effects ever more deadly.

The world’s leading climate scientists have warned we humans have only twelve years to avoid catastrophe. We have just a dozen years to limit average global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which further warming will trigger runaway climate breakdown from which there will be no coming back.

Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed at the systemic level. This is our only choice: change our systems or change our climate. Governments must take the lead in driving the system changes we need – both to minimise climate disruption and to build resilience into our water, energy, food and infrastructure systems.

SA has a massive carbon footprint relative to the size of our economy. This is largely because our electricity system is so reliant on coal, but also because our transport and other systems are so inefficient. There is much we can do to reduce it.

First and foremost, South Africa needs to rapidly move away from our current monopoly energy supply system to a market-based system. Independent power producers including small-scale producers such as households and businesses with solar panels must be allowed to feed power into the grid. And municipalities must be able to purchase power directly from producers.

The DA-run Western Cape government has enabled small-scale producers to generate their own electricity with solar panels in 22 municipalities, and in 18 of those, excess electricity can be sold back to the grid.

South Africa is blessed with much sunshine and good wind conditions, while the cost of renewable generation is plummeting. A diversity of power suppliers and sources would not just make our electricity cheaper and more reliable, but also cleaner, as more producers of renewable energy come on board.

Our transport system also needs a major overhaul. Rail transport is much more energy efficient than road transport and should play a far greater role in moving both passengers and freight. That means appointing honest, capable individuals to head up PRASA, Transnet and Metrorail services, as well as devolving more power to individual metros so that rail systems can be integrated with bus systems on a “single-ticket” basis.

In Cape Town alone, for example, the number of people using rail has dropped from 650 000 to just 250 000 in the past five years, with the result that road congestion and carbon emissions have soared.

Our packaging system must also be overhauled to drastically reduce the amount of carbon emitted. For example, compulsory refunds for glass and plastic containers would ensure that users return them for re-use or recycling.

At the same time as moving to less carbon-intensive systems, we must anticipate climate disruption and disaster and build the necessary resilience into our systems.

Despite three years of drought in the Western Cape, agriculture and agri-processing still managed to create 10 000 jobs since 2015. The provincial government’s online platform, Fruitlook, uses satellites to help farmers to optimise water usage by telling them exactly how much water their crops need. We have mapped 5.7 million hectares of farmland, including the entire fruit-producing area of 220 000 ha. Farmers have reported water savings of up to 30% by using Fruitlook.

We have also introduced a method of “Conservation Agriculture” for wheat farmers, with a 98% take-up in this sector. Wheat production is higher across the board despite the drought.

In both climate mitigation and adaptation, the opportunities to innovate, save, and restore are limitless, exciting and urgent. The imperative to act is not just economic and social but moral, because communities and countries with the lowest carbon emissions pay the highest prices.

Globally and locally, the impact of climate breakdown will be suffered unequally. As is so often the case, the poorest will suffer the most. Poor countries at the tropics will suffer the most severe effects of crop losses, destruction and displacement from changed climate and extreme weather events. Within countries, the poor will suffer more than the rich, who have more buffer against rising food prices and other impacts. Changing our systems so that we live sustainably on this planet will bring a better and fairer world. In the short time left to us to avoid runaway climate catastrophe, this change can only be brought about by government. On 8 May, a vote for the DA will be a vote for cleaner, more resilient systems