The DA embodies the values of uTata Madiba
Thank You Madame Speaker.
I had started school in 1994. My memories of our first election, to be honest, was that I had a day off from school. I remember being even more excited that I got a full three days off from school when voting had to be extended. I even hoped for a fourth day to be added. I was only 6 years old and I did not understand the gravity of the situation, the changes that were happening, or the impact that this would have on history.
It is only now, as an adult, looking back, that I can truly appreciate how lucky I was to have been alive during this time.
On the 27th of April 1994, we as a nation cast off our shackles, our prejudices, forgave each other, and, for the first time, elected a government on the basis of one person, one vote. The ballot knew no colour, no creed, no gender – it expressed the will of everyone who participated. It produced our first ever government of the people, by the people. It led to our constitution, widely acknowledged to be the gold standard as far as constitutions go the world over.
My childhood memories of the time before and after that election was stark. I was enrolled in the Indian-only school in Springs but shortly after that election my parents made the necessary financial sacrifices to get me into a former whites-only school Little did I realise at the time that the reason I didn’t start my schooling there was because of the colour of my skin.
I remember my parents having a sense of uncertainty before that election, but a sense of confidence after.
I took for granted that I could have all my friends at my childhood birthday parties regardless of the colour of their skin. It didn’t even occur to any of us that this wouldn’t have been allowed a decade earlier.
Which is why, for me, it is incredibly disappointing when our political discourse descends into insults based on identity politics rather than ideas. To discredit arguments, there are people engaged in our discourse who make fun of people based on their accents, their skin tone, their backgrounds and not their ideas. This is wrong. Using stereotypes to discredit people is wrong.
Verwoed’s dream was to box people in on identity politics. To say that if you are Indian, or black, or coloured you live only in certain areas, practice certain religions, sound only a certain way with a certain language and can only attain a certain level of education was his dream – and it was wrong. It was evil.
Those in this house and in our political discourse who perpetuate this do a disservice to our democratic project and the values of our constitution and the hope people felt in 1994.
I could name members in this house who continue to do this, but in the spirit of the values I refer to, I will not. You know who you are.
Rather, I will commend those members with whom I have political differences, who disagree with me on the issues and on policies, but never insult or degrade anyone because of how they look, how they sound, or the colour of their skin. Because, this helps me keep the faith that our democracy can still work.
Honourable Speaker, Honourable Khumalo, Honourable Magerman, Honourable Mmbata, and especially Honourable Nkabinda, thank you for adhering to non-racial values.
There are a small handful of others, but time is limited – thank you too. Whatever our political differences, at least you take me on for my ideas and not my identity. I still think some of your ideas are wrong, but we have a few more years to debate.
Lastly, thank you to every member of the DA caucus – my own caucus embodies the dream of the rainbow nation, my own caucus does not play identity politics and my own caucus makes me feel part of a family. Thank you especially for waving the flag for non-racialism and embodying the values of Nelson Mandela and our constitution.
DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Economic Development
060 558 8303