The following remarks were delivered by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the DA’s Team 1 SA launch in Cape Town today. The Leader was joined by Western Cape Premier Candidate, Alan Winde, Western Cape Provincial Leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, and City of Cape Town Mayor elect, Dan Plato.
Good morning, people of Cape Town, people of the Western Cape, fellow South Africans,
It’s always great to be here in this beautiful province. Die mooiste Kaap. But it’s particularly good to be here today as we kick off our 2019 election campaign in the province
In this campaign we will travel to every corner of the country telling South Africans what they can expect from a DA government, and explaining why only the DA can bring change that builds one South Africa for all.
I will do all I can to make our campaign here in the Western Cape a success, because this is such a crucial province. South Africa can only flourish if the Western Cape flourishes.
The Western Cape has always been the greatest melting pot of our South African cultures, and it is where so much of our nation’s story began.
From the painful roots of our colonial past and the beginning of our rich Cape Malay culture to significant moments like the very first words by Nelson Mandela upon his release from prison, this province and this city have been the backdrop to so much of our history.
In his address here from the balcony of the City Hall on 11 February 1990, Madiba reiterated what he had said more than a quarter of a century earlier during the Rivonia Trial:
“I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”
This free society with equal opportunities was something he dreamt of before they sent him to jail, and it was still his dream when he was freed. And, for a while, we all pursued this dream. We all believed in this dream.
But then we lost our way as a nation. Greed and corruption in the ANC replaced hope and ambition, and our nation started drifting further and further away from the dream of freedom.
Today, many of our people are no nearer to being free than they were back then. It has become clear that it won’t be the ANC who will deliver this freedom, because they can’t.
It will have to be a new government, committed to working for all the people. A government committed to building a fair and non-racial South Africa.
A government that not only believes in our potential, but also believes that we will only reach this potential if we work together.
And that is why it is significant that we’re gathered here today, in Cape Town, to launch the DA’s 2019 election campaign in the Western Cape. Because it is here in this province that we have already started laying the foundations for this new government.
Having taken control of the City of Cape Town in 2006 and the Western Cape in 2009, we’ve had over a decade to demonstrate that the DA is far more than just an efficient opposition party.
We’ve used this precious opportunity to show that we are a committed and capable party of government, and a far better one than the ANC ever was.
Ably led by Premier Zille and Mayors Plato and de Lille, the DA has worked tirelessly over the past decade to improve the lives of people here, and poor people in particular.
The numbers speak for themselves. The Western Cape leads the other eight provinces in every measure of good, clean governance you can think of, from jobs to education, from land reform to basic service delivery.
In the past year, according to Stats SA, three-quarters of new jobs in South Africa were created here in the Western Cape. This province now has a broad unemployment rate that’s 14.2% below the national average.
We took a provincial education department that was struggling and turned it into the best performing department in the country. It now leads the other provinces on bachelor passes as well as maths and science passes, and it has the lowest learner drop-out rate in South Africa.
When it comes to land reform, the projects here in the Western Cape have a 62% success rate. Compare that to the 10% success rate for land reform projects for the rest of the country and it becomes clear who is serious about land reform and who is not.
Much of our success is down to clean and transparent governance, and working responsibly with public money. This past financial year the Western Cape achieved 80% clean audits. The next best province was Gauteng, with a distant 52%.
In healthcare, the DA succeeded in raising the life expectancy for men from 59 years in 2009 to 66 years today. For women this went from 64 years in 2009 to 72 years today.
Across every single measure, the DA-led Western Cape has outshone every single ANC-led province. There is no doubt that this DA government is the best government the Western Cape has ever had.
But that alone is no reason to sit back and feel satisfied. Because we cannot measure ourselves against a standard set by the ANC. Our benchmark must surely be much, much higher.
So I congratulate this province on what it has achieved this past decade. It has been a huge effort and has delivered remarkable results. But we dare not rest.
Our goal is not to be better than the ANC. Our goal – our very reason for coming to work every day – is to fight for a better life for our people.
And not only the people who voted for us. We fight for everyone, because we are the DA. We are the only party trying to build a united, non-racial South Africa.
Now it is time for a new group of leaders to take the fight forward in the Western Cape. I am very pleased to tell you that the people sharing the stage with me today – our Premier candidate, our Mayor-elect and our Provincial Leader – have their sleeves rolled up and are ready to do just that.
I could not have asked for a more qualified, more committed team to take our election message to the people during this campaign, and to then steer this province and this city towards a bright and safe future. We have truly assembled the A-team here.
In Alan Winde we have the perfect Premier to build on the enormous gains this Province has made under the government of Helen Zille this past decade.
In Dan Plato we have a Mayor who will take back Cape Town’s communities from the gangs and drug dealers who have taken over their streets.
And in Bonginkosi Madikizela we have a Provincial Leader who has, time and time again, demonstrated his commitment to the people of the province through better services and housing delivery.
I am proud to call them my colleagues, and I trust them to fight the good fight here in this province – first by delivering a win in next year’s election, and then by building on the good work we have already done here in government.
And let me assure you, no one sets a higher benchmark for himself than Alan Winde.
They don’t call him the Jobs Premier for nothing. He knows that the only way out of poverty and the only way out of dependency on the government is through employment. It has been his obsessive focus to bring investment to the Western Cape.
And it has worked, with the bulk of new jobs created in South Africa this past year coming from this province, despite three years of crippling drought. That doesn’t happen by accident. That takes hard work and it takes real commitment.
But even he will admit that there is still more to be done. Despite being far ahead of the other provinces, unemployment still affects many young people here, and we have a huge challenge to help create sustainable jobs.
I know there is not a more qualified person to lead this charge than Alan Winde.
But, fellow South Africans, growing the economy here and creating jobs won’t mean much if people aren’t able to make the most of these opportunities because they live in constant fear of crime.
We all know that crime, and particularly gang and drug crime, weighs heavily on the minds of many communities here. Places like Mitchells Plain, Bonteheuwel, Nyanga, Langa, Mannenberg, Lavender Hill and many more are under siege every day.
People don’t feel safe in their own homes, in their streets, in their schools, their parks, their shops and their churches. Gang violence is a scourge that has to be met head-on, and this calls for strong leadership.
If Alan Winde is our Jobs Premier, then Dan Plato is our Gang-busting Mayor.
His track record of commitment to this city over many years in public service speaks for itself, but it is specifically on crime and fighting gangs that he has vowed to turn this city around.
He will take the fight straight to the gangs and the drug dealers who have stolen our communities and turned our streets into war zones.
But he will also take the fight to national government, because this is where much of the problem lies.
It is the ANC national government that has the power and the responsibility to resource police precincts throughout the province.
It is the ANC national government that decides how many SAPS officers get stationed at which police stations.
It is the ANC national government that chose, years ago, to disband the specialised gang and drugs units.
It is the ANC government that releases crime stats every year that show just how badly neglected many of Cape Town’s communities are, and still they refuse to come to their rescue.
The national average of police per population is one officer for every 369 residents. In the Western Cape there is one officer for every 509 residents. In the City of Cape Town it’s only one officer for every 560 residents.
An area like Nyanga, with the highest murder rate in the country, should have more police officers than elsewhere, and yet it has way below the national average. This is not an oversight. This is the ANC playing politics with people’s lives.
I see Cosatu has joined the efforts to shut down the Western Cape in protest against crime and gangs. But we see you, Cosatu. We know what you’re doing here.
You are deliberately trying to sow confusion around crime in the province by pinning the shortcomings of SAPS and the ANC on the DA and hoping the people fall for it.
Stop playing politics with people’s lives, Cosatu. If you truly are concerned about the effects of crime here – and I hope you are – then raise it with your own alliance partner, the ANC. Because that’s where the problem lies, and you know it.
For once, do the right thing and put pressure on the ANC and SAPS to stop under-resourcing these Cape Town areas as punishment for not choosing an ANC government.
I also see Minister Bheki Cele has been making noises about bringing back the specialised units. These noises are nothing new. His predecessor, Fikile Mbalula, made the same noises. Jacob Zuma promised the same thing.
Enough empty talk, minister. Just do it.
Fellow South Africans,
Under Mayor Dan Plato, the DA will continue to fight for the safety of our communities here in Cape Town, and we will be the only party doing so.
Thanks to the DA’s efforts, there is now an instruction from the Public Service Commission to fill all SAPS vacancies within the next six months.
And we will not stop there either. We will continue fighting until all Cape Town’s police stations are adequately and fairly staffed.
We will continue fighting until police reservist numbers are far higher.
We will continue fighting until we have dedicated gang and drug units.
And we will continue fighting until the army is sent to these gang hotspots to assist SAPS in its operations.
That is our promise to the people of this city and this province. And we could not have picked a better Mayor to fulfil this promise than Dan Plato.
Fellow South Africans,
We may have won this province back in 2009, and increased our majority here in 2014, but let me assure you we will never take our position here for granted.
We will never stop fighting to make the streets here safe. We will never stop fighting to make the schools here better. We will never stop fighting to speed up the delivery of basic services to all areas. We will never stop fighting to bring jobs and end poverty.
Our fight won’t end until we have bridged the gap between the insiders and the outsiders in our country. Until we become one united country once more, pursuing one common goal.
I assure you, we won’t stop fighting until we have brought change that builds one South Africa for all.