It is time for a new beginning

Note the Editors: The following speech was delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at the party’s Gauteng Provincial Congress. 
My fellow Democrats,
Good Morning
Goeie Môre
How inspiring it is to be here today! The energy is incredible. The atmosphere is electric. The determination is clear for all to see.
It is time for a new beginning in Gauteng – time for a new beginning in South Africa!
Ha e duma eyatsamaya!
Democrats, last week was a significant week for the DA as we celebrated the hundredth birthday of Helen Suzman.
As an anti-Apartheid activist, a human rights activist, a former Member of Parliament from Gauteng and a founding member of the Progressive Party, she made a towering contribution to both our country and our party.
We stand on her immense shoulders today as we take forward the fight for a better future for all in South Africa. To achieve in her own words “simple justice, equal opportunity and human rights” for all the people of South Africa.
Her legacy lives on in all of us. Let us never lose sight of her ethos of relentlessly focusing on what is right and never giving up, no matter how tough or lonely the crusade for freedom may become.
But the most important lesson we must learn from Helen Suzman is what it means to be a public servant. For her, being a Member of Parliament meant one thing only: the chance to speak up for those whose voices could not be heard.
She didn’t go to Parliament to fight for the people of Houghton. She didn’t go to defend the people who looked like her or spoke like her. She saw her job as speaking up for those who were vulnerable and oppressed.
She said: I am free but you are not, and so I will fight for your freedom. And this is what we must take from her example.
Helen Suzman would’ve been incredibly proud to see this hall today. The vibrant diversity and the sheer size of the movement for change she started to build.
And she would congratulate you – and the tens of thousands of activists who power our movement – for Gauteng’s incredible achievements in last year’s elections.
Your hard work helped us win an increased outright majority in Midvaal.
Your sacrifice and commitment helped bring the ANC below 50% in Ekurhuleni and Mogale City.
You helped us form a government in the City of Johannesburg and become the biggest party in the City of Tshwane.
On their own, each of these achievements is remarkable. But together, they represent something really significant for this province. Thanks to your hard work we now have the inside lane here in Gauteng.
Mrs Suzman would be heartened by the progress we have made as a party, compared to those early days when she was the only voice in Parliament speaking out against the injustice of Apartheid. We have come a long, long way since then.
She would have been encouraged by the state of the DA, but I know she would also be saddened by the state of our nation.
She would be dismayed at the sheer hopelessness faced by so many South Africans who still struggle to get by with no money and no work. And she would be angered by the scale of the theft and waste in government while so many people suffer.
The South Africa of today – where more than half our people live in poverty and over 9.4 million mostly young people cannot find work – is not the country she fought for.
We have a nation of two halves. Those who have and those who have not.
Those who enjoy the benefits of freedom and those who do not.
As Achebe laments, a hungry person cannot claim freedom.
A nation of rural and urban; a nation of black and white
These divisions have skewed our nation for decades.
When we describe a new beginning, it is the freeing of South Africa from these profound divisions of race, class, gender.
Democrats, we are often angry about corruption and state capture, but we must be just as angered by the living conditions of our fellow South Africans.
It cannot be business as usual when desperate mothers have to boil weeds to feed their children, or scavenge on rubbish dumps for scraps of food.
We must be angry when 4 children die every day because of malnutrition.
It cannot be business as usual when thousands of children go to school hungry every day, and then leave school having been taught nothing all day.
It cannot be business as usual when the relief offered by 17 million social grants – the only thing that shields millions from hunger – is threatened by rank incompetence.
It cannot be business as usual when it is this provincial government is directly responsible for the deaths of 143 psychiatric patients, or 34 striking mine workers.
It cannot be business as usual when the red carpet is rolled out for those who have come to plunder our country while ordinary South Africans are left to fend for themselves.
We need change.
When our country left the brutality of Apartheid behind and took its first steps as a democracy, South Africans were promised a better life.
They were promised a chance to take control of their own lives through quality education, through access to economic opportunities, through ownership of property.
They were promised economic freedom and independence.
But for millions of our people, this promise never materialised. Yes, many communities have been uplifted in the past two decades. Many more people have homes and electricity and water. But it’s not enough. Not by a long shot.
Make no mistake, I am grateful for our freedom, and I know you are too. But this South Africa, where the rich get richer and the poor remain stuck in hardship and despair, isn’t the South Africa we were promised. It would seem our divided and our worlds are drifting apart.
It is not the South Africa Madiba wanted, and it is not the South Africa Helen Suzman wanted.
We were promised so much more, and there could have been so much more. But instead, we are heading in the wrong direction.
Over 30 million South Africans now live below what is known as the upper poverty line. One in seven South Africans face extreme food poverty. Our expanded unemployment rate now sits above 36%.
And the reason the situation is getting worse is because our economy is paralysed. We have no growth. We’re dipping in and out of recession, we have been downgraded to junk status and our national debt is growing.
Forget about the ANC’s December conference – nothing that happens there will make any difference to the predicament we find ourselves in. How can an organisation focused on the past be trusted to build a new future?
We must focus on building our economy. If Eskom defaults on its spiralling debt and the captured Malusi Gigaba is forced to bail them out, it will certainly mean a further downgrade.
Minister Gigaba’s budget last month confirmed what most of us knew: Our situation is dire, and our government has no plan to get us out of it.
And while we all feel the pinch, it is the most vulnerable in our society who are hit the hardest. Life for poor, black South Africans is getting tougher by the day.
The face of poverty in our country is still largely black.
These people are not poor because they are black. They are poor because Apartheid deliberately kept them away from opportunities and deliberately under-educated them.
Today they remain poor because a corrupt system, designed to look after the elite at the expense of the poor, keeps them in poverty. Corruption is the new oppression.
This system pockets enormous amounts of tax money that was meant to be spent on the people.
This system cannot produce jobs because all investment is killed off where corruption is allowed to flourish.
This system is kept alive by shielding the dishonest and the criminals from the law. Poor people are left feeling powerless while the fat cats get away with it.
South Africa needs a new beginning that will remove this corrupt system completely.
Fellow Democrats,
Two and a half years ago at our Federal Congress in Nelson Mandela Bay, in my very first speech as Leader of the DA, I said that our values will guide us to victory.
I want to repeat that here today, because it has never been more true. Our values contain the blueprint for our country’s future.
The DA is not a party of nationalists. We don’t mobilise and vote along divisions of race, language or culture – not internally and not externally.
We don’t seek in each other the one thing that divides us and then set out to create narratives of “us against them”.
We’re a party of liberals and we believe in the strength of our diversity. We believe that this diversity brings more ideas to the table. It’s in this diversity where we can’t elect people who will only lead those who look like them. We must elect a leadership that must and will focus on a future for all South Africans.
We’re a party that believes in robust debate. We don’t always have to agree on everything. We challenge each other and we learn from each other.
At the end of this Congress, the newly elected leader will be leader of the whole Gauteng. It is our duty to get behind that leader. You may not vote for a particular candidate, but as a democrat you must accept the outcome and focus on building the DA and winning in 2019.
Underpinning everything we do is a set of values that unites us. No matter how diverse our backgrounds, we agree on the following fundamentals upon which we will rebuild our country:
We all agree that our society cannot function unless it is grounded in the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
We all agree that only a market economy can create the necessary conditions for inclusive economic growth and job creation.
We all agree that only a capable, fit-for-purpose state can deliver on its mandate to the people.
And we all agree that if we want to move our country forward we have to display a zero-tolerance for all forms of corruption.
These values are what brought us together in the Democratic Alliance. And it is these same values that will ultimately unite the millions of South Africans who want to build a strong, prosperous and inclusive nation.
It is these values that will offer South Africa a new beginning.
But, fellow Democrats, not everyone sees the world like this. Over the next 18 months you will see others try to drive wedges between races and between communities, hoping that they can chip off chunks of votes for their parties.
They will blame and they will scapegoat. They will create enemies to their cause. This is how racial nationalism works. For them to succeed, there has to be an “us” and a “them”.
We won’t play that game, because the country we hope to build needs a big core of like-minded people to be on the same side. And that is why I believe our values will guide us to victory.
Democrats, the only way we will bring about change in this country is if we show millions of South Africans that we stand on their side and that we speak up for them. Until we do so, all our best intentions will be in vain.
If we want to bring people over to our side – if we want to convince them that we will govern in their best interest – then we have to be proud of who we are, and relentless in making the case for why they should join us.
And this brings me back to Helen Suzman. What drove her, all those years, to fight on behalf of those who were not yet free must be our driving force in the DA today.
Each person in the DA must ask him or herself the fundamental question: Who am I fighting for?
Am I here to fight only for myself and those like me, or is it my duty to fight on behalf of everyone who needs my help?
Back when Helen Suzman fought for the rights of political prisoners, or those detained without trial, it made absolute sense to her that this is where her responsibility lay. She was free and they were not. And so she would fight for their freedom.
Today there are millions more who are not free. They may not be imprisoned in a cell, but the circumstances that keep them trapped and oppressed are no less real.
Our job and our responsibility is to fight for them until they are also free. That is the party we are.
If this is not your goal – if you are here for your own objectives and to build your own following, then you are in the wrong party. Because that is where patronage originates.
We cannot allow our goals to be diffused and our people to be captured. That is the most important lesson we can learn from our opponent’s implosion.
Our opponent has failed because they did not grasp this principle. Their fight is for the elite – the president, the inner circle, the tenderpreneurs and connected cronies. In their South Africa there is one life for the wealthy and one life for the poor.
The DA can never be that. We are a party that welcomes all, that governs for all and that fights for all.
And so we can never be a party that dispenses patronage in exchange for support. If this is your intention, you are in the wrong party.
We can never be a party where leaders represent certain groups or interests above others. Again, if you are here to push the agenda of a narrow minority, then this is not the party for you.
And we can never be a party that tolerates racists. If you are racist and thinking of voting for the DA, please don’t. We don’t want your vote. We must condemn all racism whether by black or white.
Our job is to build a reconciled country – a South Africa for all. If you behave in a way to undermine that project, then please note that the exits to this hall are marked clearly and you should use them now.
Our opponents like to say that we are not a party for all South Africans – that we can’t be trusted. They’ll carry on saying this because they have nothing else to offer voters.
They are worried. They know that they have at most 18 months left in power. They know that South Africans have woken up to the fact that they need to free themselves from the oppression of corruption that is destroying our future.
And they know that South Africans of all backgrounds are increasingly realising that the DA is the only choice for real change.
But we cannot avoid the fact that many South Africans do not know us yet.
Democrats, it is time South Africans knew the truth – that we’re a diverse, changing party that offers a better future for all.
Today, two out of every three DA members are black. Eight out of our nine Provincial Leaders are black. Three out of our four Metro Mayors are black. Most of our voters are black. I will continue to build a diverse organisation. Not a replacement of one race for another but a party for all.
I say this not because we are keeping a race scorecard, but to demonstrate the dishonesty when our opponents say we are a party for this race or that.
We are Democrats, united in our values.
We are a diverse party with diverse leadership – something previously unheard of in South Africa. And this scares our opponents.
We are a party that has successfully transitioned from opposition to party of government in four metros, and soon multiple provinces. And this scares our opponents.
We are a party with a proven track record of fighting corruption – a record that includes an unbeaten run in the courts. And that scares our opponents.
We are a party whose record of service delivery to the poor outshines every other province and city. And that scares our opponents.
The fact that we are now talking about a South Africa beyond the ANC – and that people are taking note and also imagining this South Africa – this really scares our opponents.
For the first time, South Africans from all walks of life are considering a future without the ANC. The results of last year’s elections planted the seed, and a year of non-stop government scandals since then has watered this seed.
South Africans are slowly awakening to the power and the possibilities of a true democracy.
Democrats, our country is at a crossroads and we’re in a position to make history.
What we all achieved in Election 2016 represented a seismic shift in South African politics. In fact, 3 August 2016 could well prove to be the tipping point for South Africa’s transition from a one-party dominant state to a true multiparty constitutional democracy.
We achieved unprecedented results, breaking out of the Western Cape to form governments in Nelson Mandela Bay, Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg.
In addition to these metros and the City of Cape Town, the DA controls 28 municipalities in 5 of the country’s 9 provinces.
Our local governments are responsible for 16 million citizens and more than half the country’s local government budget.
The ability to govern in these metros and towns across South Africa represents a significant opportunity for us to demonstrate, tangibly, the change we can bring to all South Africans.
And I am greatly encouraged by the progress Mayors Mashaba, Baloyi and Msimanga are leading in this province.
It is hard to over-emphasise what a disastrous situation we inherited in both the City of Johannesburg and City of Tshwane. Corruption, wasteful expenditure and maladministration had led both municipalities to the verge of implosion.
Before the election, we knew the situation was bad. But after taking over the governments, we discovered the horrifying results of a corrupt system that puts the elite first and the people last. Both cities were handed over in a terrible state.
Yet, Mayors Mashaba and Msimanga rolled up their sleeves and got to work. There is still a long way to go, but progress is being made in these Metros. Change is happening one positive step at a time.
We have dismantled the corrupt systems we have found and we have ensured that these governments are now focused on the people, not cadres and comrades.
Our mission remains to build clean, transparent and honest governments that deliver better services and create jobs.
Honest government that tells citizens what we are doing, what we are planning and what we are achieving every step of the way – transparent to its very core.
Our next step is to extend that to Gauteng as a province, and South Africa as a country.
And I ask you – and the thousands of DA activists, public representatives and staff members watching across the country – are you ready to bring real change to this province and our country?
South Africa’s future depends on this movement. Not on the soap opera coming to Nasrec next month. That party, corrupt and selfish to its core, has had its time. It is dead. Let December be its funeral.
Democrats, the time has come to hit the ‘reset’ button, follow the Constitution, and change the system so that it works for the people, not the elite.
The DA can bring that total change and immediate relief to our oppressed people. A better future lies just around the corner, if South Africans will vote for it in 2019.
But this means we have just 18 months to bring our vision of this better future – this prosperous, inclusive South Africa – to the people.
We have just 18 months to sketch out our vision of a new economy, no longer controlled by government and big business, but diverse, modern and resilient.
We will invest in infrastructure – as Mayor Mashaba is already doing in clearing the infrastructure backlog here in Johannesburg – and we will let our cities lead our economic growth.
We will look to introduce a Jobs and Justice Fund to provide business financing to those left out of the economy, and we will streamline cumbersome legislation to make it easier to run a small business. Fighting for the new entrants, who will need start up capital.
No longer will you need to know someone, bribe someone or have to sleep with someone to get a job.
We will destroy the corrupt system the government has built, and replace it with a new system that works for the people, not the elite.
If you are caught in corrupt activities – whether you are a government official or private businessman – you will go to jail for fifteen years.
We will turn the South African Police Service into a professional, modern, police service that is passionate about serving and protecting South Africans.
Crime is out of control because this corrupt government does not care about justice. It has resulted in a system where murderers get out of jail after a few years and criminals who belong behind bars are out on the street.
It’s time that our justice system returns to its true purpose: catching and punishing criminals. The DA will take immediate, bold action to protect our people from crime, and end the anarchy that’s taken hold of our communities.
We will enforce the law and end the uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants into our country.
Your new DA government will also build a capable state that can deliver on its promise to the people. Gone will be the days of cadre deployment. Only qualified, fit-for-purpose candidates will get the job.
We will overhaul basic education, bring back teacher training colleges, ensure that our principals and teachers are up to standard and give parents a greater say in where they can send their children.
Ours will be an education system that empowers poor people – where teachers show up and textbooks are delivered. An education system where innovative interventions like collaboration schools will help fill the gaps.
We will ensure that everyone leaving school has options and opportunities to further their education and training. We will offer young people a programme where they can intern and work for a year after school.
Ours will be a South Africa where no young person is left behind and shut out of the economy.
This is the South Africa a DA government will fight for.
Democrats, do you want this new beginning?
Do you think South Africans want this new beginning?
Can we bring this new beginning to Gauteng?
I agree. It is time!
Ask yourself – would Helen Suzman be proud to be standing in this hall right now?
Most definitely!
Would she say it’s time for a new beginning?
Most definitely!
Now is the time to be bold. To take to the streets. To show South Africa who we are – the growing, diverse movement that will bring total change to our country.
There is a phrase in isiZulu – “Sihamba nabahambayo” – “We take along with us those who are ready for the journey”.
My question to you today then is: “Are you ready for this journey?”
Do you believe it is time?
Is Gauteng ready for a new beginning?
Is South Africa ready for a new beginning?
Let’s make it happen!
Nkosi Sikelele iAfrika.
Let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our beautiful land.

In just one year, the DA has already made progress in Kouga

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader Mmusi Maimane at a public meeting in Pellsrus, Kouga, as part of the #Change19 tour.
My fellow South Africans,
Our country is standing on the brink of the biggest change it has seen since the 1994 elections. People have run out of patience with the ANC government. They realise they are not going to get what they were promised by them and so, across the country, people are mobilising for change.
In many places, this change has already started. A year ago, the DA won several new metros and municipalities from the ANC. We made promises to the people of these towns and cities that we would make a difference in their communities. And if we didn’t, we said they should vote us out of government again.
And so these new DA governments wasted no time. We knew the clock was ticking, and we knew what people expected from us. We immediately started cleaning out the rot and reversing the damage caused by years of neglect.
It’s not surprising at all that the people of Kouga turned their back on the ANC. This municipality came to a standstill over the past decade. Nothing happened – hardly any maintenance of older infrastructure took place and no new projects were launched.
Did you know that in the past eleven years, no new RDP houses were built in the entire Kouga? Not one. But Mayor van Lingen’s government has already turned that around. Right here in Pellsrus, they’re about to start casting foundations for 220 new houses. Not far away, in Kruisfontein, they have also launched a new housing project where the foundations have been cast for 391 new houses.
Mayor van Lingen’s team has also launched an extensive clean-up programme across many of Kouga’s communities, and various new refuse trucks, grass-cutting equipment and skip bins have been bought for the municipality. This clean-up operation has also meant hundreds of fixed-period jobs for the people here.
Then here are the wastewater treatment plants at Kruisfontein and Hankey that have been completed, as well as an upgrade that has been planned for the plant at St Francis Bay.
The informal settlement at Donkerhoek had its main access road upgraded, and electricity has already been switched on at 247 of the sites. The budget to electrify the remaining 116 sites there, as well as at the Ocean View settlement, has now also been approved for next year.
We are aware of the challenges when it comes to schooling in the area, and Mayor van Lingen’s government has successfully sorted out the delays in new school construction projects.
The site of the Andrieskraal Primary School has been handed over to the contractors. This build will include a new hostel. And a new school building at Sea Vista primary was completed and handed over this past year.
My fellow South Africans, this is what real progress looks like. And the Mayor assures me there is a lot more to come.
I know that there is still much to be done here. I have visited houses here in Pellsrus this morning and I have spoken to residents. I know how hard it can be when there are no jobs. I know what the high crime rate does to a community like yours. I know about sewage leaks and dirty streets.
And I assure you, all those things are on the Mayor’s list. You will not be forgotten here like you were under the ANC government.
If we have achieved so much here in Kouga in just one year, imagine what a difference we can make in five or ten years. We can bring back investment into this municipality. We can make it an attractive place for businesses and tourists alike. And with them will come the precious jobs that this community so desperately needs.
But to really be effective, we are going to need your help. Because there is only so much we can do in local government. The real change – the forward-looking plans to create job-creating growth in our country – have to come at national level.
Your vote in 2019 can make that happen. Each of you has the power to say: I don’t want a government that steals my money. I don’t want a government that only cares about itself. I don’t want a government that can’t keep one single promise. I want a fresh beginning under a new government.
Give the DA chance in 2019 to run this province and the country. I give you my word, we will work as hard as we possibly can to improve every aspect of your lives here. And if we don’t, then you must fire us again with your vote. Because that’s how our democracy works. But first give us that one chance.

[IN PICTURES] Mmusi Maimane’s visit to Morokweng

The #Change19 tour moved to Morokweng, in the North West where DA Leader Mmusi Maimane continued to engage with community members during his door-to-door visits and public meetings.

I was left saddened and angry at the conditions that many people here have to live in.

– Mmusi Maimane
The leader went on to remind the people of Morokweng how the ANC government has proven, over and over again, that it does not have the will to kick a corrupt president and his corrupt cronies out, and that their only hope lies in a fresh start under a new government.

Until we rid our government of the parasites that suck our country dry, communities like Morokweng will always suffer because it’s impossible to serve both the Guptas’ greed and the people’s needs.
-Mmusi Maimane

He also assured the community that should they lend us their votes in 2019, we will make their needs our priority and we will not forget them like the ANC government has done.

[IN PICTURES] Mmusi Maimane's visit to the North West

The #Change19 tour moved to Stella, in the North West today, where DA Leader Mmusi Maimane engaged with community members, going door-to-door and speaking at various public meetings.

What I saw and heard here today has saddened me.

– Mmusi Maimane
The Leader went on to tell community members that “[the] big issues that people face [in the North West] and across the country – unemployment, poverty and lack of opportunities – need to be solved in national government.
We know by now that this ANC government will not and cannot do so. It is time for change – for a new beginning – and only you have the power of the vote to bring that change.”
You can read the full speech here: Use your vote to change your future
The #Change19 Tour is the our precursor to the 2019 election campaign. The Leader has spent months touring the country, meeting South Africans of all walks of life.

A caring government will not let sewage run through your homes.

The following remarks were delivered today by the DA Leader during a public meeting in Kathu, Northern Cape. This forms part of the National #Change19 Tour. The Leader was joined by the Northern Cape Provincial Leader, Andrew Louw
My fellow South Africans,
Thank you for coming out to meet me today. And thank you for welcoming me into your homes and your warm and friendly community.
I love this part of the world, but I also know a community like yours could be so much more if some important changes took place here. And so I’d like to speak to today you about some of the things you should be getting from your government, but aren’t.
You can tell a lot about a government by what they do when it’s not election time. By what happens in between elections, when they are no longer that desperate for your vote.
And what I’m seeing in Kathu, and particularly here in Mapoteng, points to a government that does not care about you at all once they have your vote in their back pocket. Because a caring government would not let their people live in filth.
A caring government would not let raw sewage run down your streets and in between your homes where your children play. A government that truly cared for you would not allow this to go on for days without doing anything about it, let alone the months, even years, that you’ve had to put up with it.
A caring government would not bury its head in the sand and hope the problem gets solved by someone else.
No, my fellow South Africans, a government that cared about you would make it their business to look after you. They would make it their business to ensure that you don’t have to live in conditions that they wouldn’t be prepared to live in.
The problem is, the ANC government cares about a lot of things, just not about you. They care about making money, about protecting the corrupt, about staying in power. But they don’t care about the basics of good governance.
The problems with the continuous sewage spills here in Mapoteng aren’t because of complex, unfixable issues. These problems aren’t because of sabotage or even lack of budget. They are simply problems of poor governance.
Every piece of equipment used to deliver services needs to be maintained. All equipment needs to be checked for wear and tear, and any old or broken parts need to be replaced. And that goes for these sewage reservoirs too.
The sensors in these reservoirs that are meant to prevent overflows should have been replaced as soon as they failed. But, like almost everything in this town, it was simply ignored by this ANC government.
I am told, following relentless pressure from the DA, they have gone out and bought seven new sensors for these reservoirs. But even these seven new sensors won’t solve the problem, as there are up to twenty that need replacing. And of course, in true ANC style, they have completely overpaid their connected “preferred suppliers”, which means they don’t have the budget for the rest.
Unfortunately this is how this ANC government responds to a crisis. They ignore it for years, and when they cannot possibly ignore it any longer, they make a weak attempt at fixing the bare minimum while making a few cadres rich along the way. Then you don’t see them again while your streets run thick with sewage.
The same goes for the water supply issues across large parts of Kathu. The many, many burst pipes aren’t going to fix themselves. But the ANC government seem to think they will, because they certainly aren’t doing anything about it.
My fellow South Africans, no one should live like this. Things must change for you here in Mapoteng. But I can assure you nothing will change unless you make it happen.
The first step is to ensure that Ward 7 here in Mapoteng remains a DA ward in the upcoming by-election on 20 September. The DA won it in last year’s municipal election by a very small margin, and it would be a huge setback for your community if it were to return to the ANC.
But the big change you need to make is in two years’ time in the 2019 national and provincial elections. Because then many of you are going to have to do something you have never done before: You are going to have to turn your back on the ANC and vote for a new government.
The change you need will not happen within the ANC. The rot of corruption and enrichment has spread too far and wide already. Change will have to come from outside the ANC, and you are the only people who can make this happen.
Each of you has, in your vote, the power to decide what path our country takes, and what future a place like Mapoteng has. And in 2019 you are going to have to lend your vote to the DA, or face another five years of this – of sewage running through your homes, of taps running dry and of your government dodging all their responsibilities to you.
And take note: I said “lend” your vote, not give your vote. Because no one should pledge their support forever. If the DA should disappoint you, then you must take your vote back again, because that is how this democracy is meant to work.
But first give us that one chance. I assure you we will work very hard to repay your trust.
Thank you.

Where the DA governs, young people have hope for the future

Note to editors: The following remarks were made today by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, as part of the Western Cape leg of the #Change19 Tour.
Fellow South Africans,
Today we are here in Mitchells Plain to see how the DA is already delivering opportunities for young people where we are in government, and how we can do the same nationally in 2019. We are delivering economic growth, job creation, lower unemployment, skills training, loans for start up entrepreneurs — all of this we are delivering already! Imagine how we can expand on this record if we are elected to govern in 2019.
In the DA, we are focused on growing the economy and creating jobs for young people. For us, it is not about looting, or corruption, or “baantjies vir boeties” – it is about expanding opportunities for more people, especially the youth.
I am proud of the project we are here to see today. It is the very best of the DA in action. It is a model of the future when the DA governs nationally.
Just last month, this new ‘Youth Café’ was opened up here in Mitchells Plain. This Youth Café is offering young people opportunities for entrepreneurial, leadership and other skills training, including internet access for job seekers or entrepreneurs.
Youth Cafés are a project of the DA government in the Western Cape, and they are aimed at expanding opportunities for our “NEETs” generation, namely young people ‘not in employment, education or training’. There are already 7 Youth Cafés across the province, with at least 2 more being launched before the end of the year.
The Youth Café here in Mitchells Plain provides young people internet access and computer access to budding entrepreneurs and aspirant job-seekers. It also offers short courses in Digital Training, Work Ethics, Business Entrepreneurship, Life Skills Sessions, Creative Design, Event Management, Leadership Training, and Project Management.
Last month the DA government in Cape Town announced that it will now offer free public transport to job seekers. The DA-led government in Tshwane has already matched this commitment with their own subsidy programme for cheaper public transport for job seekers. This is a big help to those looking for work, who need to use public transport to get to job interviews. In this economy, finding a job can take a long time and many interviews. Now young people in DA governments know that we are helping them make their job search easier and cheaper.
This is the DA in action. Where we govern, we focus on economic growth and jobs – especially for the youth. And we will do whatever it takes for them to have better opportunities in life.
We are not sitting back and moaning about the broken economy — broken by corruption and state capture. We are doing what we can where we govern to grow the economy and help South Africa out of recession. We know there is no good reason that we should be in recession in the first place.
Similarly, we are getting to work fixing public education where we govern. That is why, since the DA took over in the Western Cape in 2009, the matric pass rate in the province’s poorest schools increased from 57% to over 70%
We are tackling gangs and drugs, even though we do not control the police – we are doing so because we must beat drugs if the youth are to have any chance. We are helping entrepreneurs, despite having only a tiny fraction of the funds available to national government. We are cleaning up corruption – there is no Nkandla or state capture where the DA governs.
That is the DA difference! It doesn’t mean it is all perfect. Of course not. There is a long way to go.
As long as gangsterism, drugs, and unemployment are defining the future for our young people, we will never be satisfied. No mother wants her young son to join a gang, become addicted to drugs, or live a life of violence. Yet that is the reality for many families across our nation.
As parents, we want only the best for our children. The key choice is this. There is only one party working for the best of our children. That is the DA. And there is another party that is actively working against our children’s futures.  For the ANC, it’s only young people who are connected that go far. It’s only the Duduzane Zumas of South Africa who live lives of luxury, while the majority of ordinary young people are locked out of opportunity.
In 2019, we can choose a different future.
Where the DA governs, you see the lowest unemployment rate in South Africa.
We are committed to helping the youth build the life they want.
That is why the DA government in this province has allocated R15.6 billion to youth opportunities, ranging from apprenticeships and bursaries, to school holiday programmes and child development centres.
And the community of Mitchells Plain is seeing this investment in its youth first hand.
Our youth deserve much better. That is what the DA is delivering now, and that is what the DA will deliver in national government. We will free young South Africans to build the life they want, to work and earn a living, to be owners of wealth and capital, to climb the ladder of opportunity, and to succeed.

Those who deprive you of water belong in jail, not government

The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, in Zinyoka Village, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape. Maimane was joined by DA Eastern Cape Leader, Nqaba Bhanga.
My fellow South Africans,
Water is a basic human right, guaranteed in our Constitution. Failure to ensure that all South Africans have access to clean drinking water is a failure of the core function of any government.
But even worse than a failure to deliver clean water is the deliberate withholding or sabotage of a community’s water supply for political purposes. And we have every reason to believe that your community has fallen victim to this.
These water tanks here were meant to be a temporary solution to a temporary supply problem. But almost two years later they remain your only source of clean water, with the regular taps standing dry more often than not.
During this time we’ve seen the very worst of the ANC’s patronage politics, with drivers of water trucks allegedly instructed last year by ANC leaders to withhold water from those residents who didn’t vote for the ANC.
Some of the water tanks were deliberately placed inside the homes of ANC voters, giving them the power to refuse water to non-ANC voters, which they regularly do.
It is hardly surprising that this business of only delivering water to ANC houses came to a sudden end when the then independent candidate and now DA councillor reported it to the media and it got splashed onto the front page of the Daily Dispatch.
It is equally suspicious that the water in your municipal taps seems to flow in the build-up to elections, but then stops shortly afterwards. One has to ask why this would be the case.
Why should it take two years to fix a broken pump so that your municipal water supply can be restored? The only people who benefit from this situation are those who have the lucrative contract to truck water into this community week-in and week-out.
This ANC government has sunk to new lows. Deliberately withholding water as punishment for voting for the opposition is one of the worst crimes a government can commit.
Water can never be used as a political tool. Anyone who deliberately deprives people of this basic human right deserves to be in jail, not government.
No one deserves such a government. The people of Zinyoka Village certainly don’t.
You deserve a government that cares about your wellbeing. A government committed to improving the life of each and every member of the community. A government that doesn’t wait for election time before it turns the taps on.
You deserve a government with policies and programmes that will open opportunities for you and your children right here in Zinyoka Village.
As we speak, the ANC is busy with its own policy conference in Gauteng. But we all know nothing good will come from it. And what is the point of this conference anyway, when their policies are all made in Saxonwold and Dubai?
My fellow South Africans, the future of this country will not involve the ANC. We are already busy preparing for a post-ANC South Africa, where a coalition of different parties led by the DA will bring about real change.
This future is not far away. In two years’ time we will elect new national and provincial governments. The ANC know they stand to lose these elections because of the way they have neglected people like you and allowed your money to be stolen by their rich friends, the Guptas.
They can see this change coming, and there is little they can do to stop it. The power is now in your hands, not theirs.
If you want a government that brings real development and jobs to the Eastern Cape, a government that fixes rural schools so your children have a chance in life, a government that spends every cent of the people’s money on the people, then you will have to choose this government yourself.
I am here to tell you today that the DA can do these things for you. But don’t just accept what I say. Instead, look at what the DA has done where we already govern.
In DA-run towns and cities, life is better than under an ANC government. It is better because we don’t tolerate corruption, we don’t tolerate waste and we know what it takes to attract and support job-creating businesses.
If you are prepared to lend the DA your vote in 2019, we will bring that kind of government to the Eastern Cape, and here to Zinyoka Village.

A DA government will not forget Ntabankulu like the ANC has

Note to editors: The following remarks were made by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane, as part of his #Change19 Tour in Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape. 
My fellow South Africans,
Part of the beauty of this area is that it lies off the beaten track, far from development. But that also means it is easily forgotten by those tasked with looking after it. And that is what has happened here – the ANC government has forgotten all about you.
They have forgotten that, after all these years, you still don’t have proper houses or adequate services.
They have forgotten about the terrible state of the roads into this community, and the dangerous bridge between here and Phepheni Village that has cost many people their lives.
They have forgotten everything they once said about improving your schools and opening opportunities for your children.
They have forgotten that they once told you that you will own your land and your home.
This here is your land. You should have a title deed for your property, because this will help you achieve financial independence.
But let me tell you today: The ANC does not want you to own the land you live on. If they did, they would have fixed it by now and you would be land owners. That is what the DA is doing where we govern, so why can’t they? Because they don’t want to.
Even worse are the people who use land reform as a disguise for helping the ANC and their Gupta friends to steal billions of Rands meant for communities like yours.
There are those who may speak of land, but actually they are nothing but a front for the Guptas’ radical enrichment programme. This became very clear yesterday when a bunch of thugs went to intimidate, threaten and assault journalists who have been exposing the corruption of the Guptas and the ANC.
The Gupta proxies’ campaign to undermine media freedom in an attempt to shield a corrupt family is a new low in our country. They have been exposed as nothing but hired muscle for a massive crime syndicate.
Don’t fall for the stories of people who promise you land with the one hand, but then steal from you to give to the Guptas with the other. They are traitors, and very soon they will find themselves isolated and on the wrong side of history.
When the DA is in national government, we will make the development of rural communities like yours a priority. And this includes real, meaningful land reform through title deeds.
We will ensure that your children have access to proper schooling so that they don’t start off with a disadvantage in life. And we will implement a rural development plan that will ensure that areas like Ntabankulu municipality are places of opportunity.
In the DA you will see what it means to have a government that works for all people, and not just some.
Now you might say to me: All political parties are the same – they all make promises before elections and they all disappear afterwards. Why should we trust the DA?
And my simple answer is: Look at what happens where the DA has been put into government. Look at what we have achieved where we have been given a chance.
The Auditor General just released a report on South Africa’s local governments, and the report makes it very clear: DA-run governments are miles ahead of ANC governments when it comes to looking after the people’s money and making this money work for them in basic service delivery.
The DA has added even more metros and municipalities to its list of local governments, meaning even more South Africans now get to experience what a difference an honest and caring government can make in their everyday lives.
We know we don’t have the right to govern these municipalities forever. If we should ever start breaking our promises, we know the people will vote us out again. This makes us work harder and it ensures that we respect every last cent of public money.
What we do in these local governments, we can do in national government too.
South Africa is heading for a post-ANC future. We are heading for a time when a new coalition government will take over from the ANC in 2019 and start to turn our country around.
Change is coming to every part of South Africa including this, the home of Madiba. You will finally get what he wanted for you: democracy and real freedom you can use.
We can make a difference in your lives, but you first need to trust the DA with your vote. Not forever – just one election at a time. If you ever feel we’ve broken our promise to you, then use the power of your vote to replace us too.
But I give you my word here today: The DA will never forget you like the ANC has.
Thank you.

Give us a chance to show you the kind of SA we can build together

Note to Editors: The following remarks were  delivered by the DA Leader during a public meeting in Qwa-Qwa, Free State. The Leader is on a two-day visit to the the Free State as part of the National #Change19 Tour. The Leader is joined by DA Free State Provincial Leader, Patricia Kopane
My fellow South Africans
If you don’t like something, then change it.
If you don’t like the path our country is on, then switch to a different path.
If you don’t like what your government is doing for you, then change governments.
I know I don’t like what’s happening to our country. I don’t like to see millions of young people without work. I don’t like to see millions of families trying to get by on a single social grant.
I don’t like to see pit toilets 23 years into our democracy. I don’t like to see dangerous illegal electricity connections. I don’t like to see communities go without water, or sewage leaking into streets.
I don’t like to see corruption, whether this is the president selling the country to the Guptas, or whether it is the local ANC councillor making sure only ANC members get Public Works jobs or are moved up the housing list.
I don’t like any of these things, which is why the DA is working hard to change them.
We are building a South Africa where the people have a real say in their future. We are building a South Africa where everyone has the opportunity to live a life they value.
But this isn’t something we can do on our own. By taking this message across the country to communities like yours, we hope to convince enough people that change is possible. That you don’t have to be satisfied with the way things are.
Because this change can only come from you. Only when you decide that enough is enough can we replace this ANC government with a government that will move us forward.
I don’t need to tell you that life can be better. You know this.
You know that sending your children to school hungry, or going to bed hungry, is not the life you were promised.
You know that pit toilets and sewage running down your streets is not the life you were promised.
You know that having to give up on your dreams because you can’t find work is not the life you were promised.
You know that there must be a much better option. I’m here to tell you that the only way you will achieve the things you want is if you are prepared to make the change.
In last year’s municipal elections, enough people decided to make this change for us to be able to put together coalition governments and cooperation agreements in three new metros.
That means three of our biggest cities decided that they’d had enough of the ANC’s empty promises, and they were prepared to give the DA and our coalition partners a chance. And already these new governments are making a difference in their lives.
If we can do that in Johannesburg and Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, then we can do it here in Qwa-Qwa too.
But we can’t do it if you still believe that the ANC can change. We can’t do it if you’re still waiting for the ANC to get better – to kick out Jacob Zuma – and to put someone else in his place.
Because this will make no difference to a party for which corruption is the only way to operate. Changing leaders at the top will only give corruption a new face and a new name. The only way to get rid of corruption and put the people first is through a new government.
All I am asking is that you give us one chance. Don’t give away your vote for life. Just lend it to us so we can show you that we can bring change to Qwa-Qwa.
If we then disappoint you, take your vote back. But first give us that chance to show you the kind of South Africa we can build together.
Ke a leboga. I thank you.

The only people who can bring change to Matjhabeng are you, the voters

The following remarks were  delivered by the DA Leader during a public meeting in Matjhabeng, Free State. The Leader is on a two-day visit to the the Free State as part of the National #Change19 Tour. The Leader is joined by DA Free State Provincial Leader, 
My fellow South Africans
It’s great to wake up in the Free State and to drive through this wonderful province. It sits in the heart of our country in more ways than one – not only geographically, but also as the bread basket of our nation.
If we are to prosper as a nation and unlock our full potential, then it is crucial that the Free State succeeds. And the power to make this happen lies in your hands.
I come to your community as part of what I call my Change19 Tour. In the course of the year I plan to take the DA’s vision for a better South Africa to communities across the country.
I think we can all agree we need to change. Our country is heading the wrong way and soon it may be too late to turn around. We have stopped making progress as a nation. We are no longer marching towards economic freedom for all.
Communities like yours here in Matjhabeng are fast being forgotten by a government that promised to take you forward, but has no intention of honouring that promise.
And here in the Free State you suffer under the double threat of a national ANC government under Jacob Zuma and a provincial ANC government under Ace Magashule.
Because these two men are the same. The promises they make to their rich friends, the Guptas, mean far more than the promises they make to you before elections.
There has been a lot of talk recently about whether the ANC will kick Jacob Zuma out and replace him with someone else. I assure you, this will make no difference at all to the ANC. The culture of corruption – of stealing money that was meant for communities like yours – is part of the ANC now. It cannot be corrected.
Replacing Zuma with someone else will just increase your suffering. Similarly, replacing Ace Magashule with another ANC leader here in the Free State won’t change the way it governs for you. It will only change the name of the person handing out the contracts and tenders to friends and family.
When I talk about change on this tour, I mean total change. I mean a whole new way of looking at South Africa.
I’m talking about a South Africa that has entered its second struggle era – this time the struggle for economic freedom for all. The struggle to escape the economic oppression of ANC rule.
I’m talking about a South Africa in which all of us have a say in how this country of ours must be rebuilt – what it should look like and how we can all benefit from it.
I’m talking about a South Africa built on tolerance and respect for each other.
I’m talking about a South Africa where violence against women is not tolerated. Where we stand up, as one, against anyone who thinks they have the right to treat women as their possession.
I’m talking about a South Africa that is no longer the rape and murder capital of the world; where children don’t disappear every day, and where our streets and our neighbourhoods belong to the people who live there once more.
A South Africa where the leaders set the examples for others to follow. Where law and order starts at the top.
I’m talking about a South Africa that works. That creates jobs in every town and every city, and that invests in educating and training our youth to fill these jobs.
I’m talking about a South Africa free from the ANC. We have to start thinking and talking about our future without the ANC. Because only then can we start to move forward.
My fellow South Africans
If we want to build this South Africa – if we want to turn communities like Matjhabeng into places of hope, where the youth can find jobs instead of turning to crime and drugs – then we are going to have to do it together.
It’s no use to see ourselves as only DA, only ANC or only EFF, and everyone else as our enemies. We need to start thinking beyond these divides. We need to start seeing those who want to build the same South Africa as we do as our allies.
A new government that rescues our country from the ANC will have to be built on coalitions and cooperation. This is how we are busy turning metros like Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay around, and this is how we will turn South Africa around.
We need to think differently and we need to vote differently. And the only people who can make this happen are you, the voters. You have the power to shape your future.
Please think carefully and choose wisely.
Ke a leboga. I thank you.