I gratefully accept the DA nomination, to run as Mayoral Candidate for Ekurhuleni to bring change to Ekurhuleni.
I grew up in a family forged in the struggle against injustice and I spent many years in exile from the apartheid government. My grandfathers, Ebrahim Asvat and Ahmed Cachalia, campaigned with Mahatma Gandhi against injustice. My father, Yusuf Cachalia, was arrested and tried by the apartheid government for civil disobedience and was sentenced for his part in the Defiance Campaign in December 1952.
My mother, Amina Cachalia, marched alongside women of all races right here in Germiston in 1952 as part of the Defiance Campaign. She and her comrades were arrested and held in a prison in Boksburg.
The values that I learnt from my family have guided me throughout my life; non-racialism and reconciliation, the rule of law and human rights, human dignity and the imperative that the government must work for the people and not the other way around.
From the ashes of apartheid we forged a new country based on human dignity, equality and freedom for all.
Throughout my life, I believed the ANC embodied these values. It was where I put my faith for a better life for all South Africans. It was the party that enshrined my values when Nelson Mandela signed our constitution into law in 1996.
But sadly, after 22 years of ANC government, we have been betrayed. The ANC has changed, and the ANC of Jacob Zuma is not the ANC of Nelson Mandela.
I accept this DA nomination, not just because I’m leaving the ANC, but because the ANC has left me.
We have watched our values being reduced to rhetoric by the ANC. We have watched our painful history being exploited as a tool to divide South Africans to cover up for the failures of government. We have seen a corrupt elite group use the power of the state to benefit only themselves and their families. We have seen unemployment rise and we have seen too many of our fellow citizens become trapped in poverty.
As we stand here today, we are in the second most unequal city in the world. Ekurhuleni used to be called Africa’s Workshop, but after years of mismanagement, it is deindustrialising.
A city that should be a beacon of hope and opportunity remains divided. Nearly 24% of households in this city do not live in formal dwellings. Over 40% of the people in this city do not have a tap in their own home. 15% of the people in this city do not have a flush toilet. Almost 20% have no electricity for lighting, let alone cooking.
The time has come for us to once again find our hope and aspiration.
This is why I stand with the DA and will be campaigning as mayoral candidate to usher in an era of DA government in Ekurhuleni. The DA offers us a new path, where freedom, fairness and opportunity are the values on which we make government work for the people. The DA offers us a chance to make our city a city of jobs and opportunity.
The time has come for change and the DA is the vehicle to deliver that change.
I attended the 10,000-strong march to the Consitutional Court last Friday with our Leader, Mmusi Maimane. It was a momentous moment for me as I stood and listened to Mmusi Maimane speak in defence of our constitution.
I was reminded then of the time I visited my father in prison at the Fort on that very site. I looked at the palm trees and recalled how he used to collect date pips and on release how he fashioned these into a necklace for my mother as a poignant reminder of their bonds and struggle.
I also recalled being at the ANC’s celebration of victory in 1994 at the Carlton Hotel with my parents, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and others. How the ANC has changed since then!
Currently, under ANC governance in Ekurhuleni we have people living in Lindelani and Barcelona near Daveyton who have no certain and stable supply of running water at all. And we have seen a City Manager illegally appointed and the ANC administration ignore the court order to correct this.
When we give people real opportunity, we meaningfully undo the legacy of apartheid.
This means voting for a DA government in Ekurhuleni, because it is your local government that lays the foundation for opportunity and redress.
My vision for the city of Ekurhuleni is an inclusive city, where the people who are struggling find opportunity and a hand up in life, the striving are able to grow and excel and the successful are able to invest and innovate.
Our city must be free from crime and grime. Our metro police must be trusted by and partnered with all communities. Our children must not be harassed and entrapped by drug dealers. Nyaope must not steal our future.
Our city must be transparent. Housing waiting lists must be opened up for public scrutiny. Tenders must be awarded in an open adjudication system. Corrupt and callous officials must be dealt with and the city must work for all its residents. Our officials must be competent, qualified and ready to deliver.
Our city must care for the poor. The indigent policy must ensure that services reach those who can’t afford it. We must compete with Cape Town to offer the most comprehensive basket of free services to our poorest communities.
Our housing policy must include in-situ upgrading so that people don’t continue to suffer the indignity of poverty. Every child in this city must have a light under which to study, clean running water and sanitation. No child or grandmother should suffer the indignity of a pit latrine, or be forced to dig her own pit toilet.
Our city must be open for business. We must roll out the red carpet for investors who want to create jobs and grow our economy. We must make sure that start-ups and small businesses in particular have the right incentives and support.
Our city must have good infrastructure. When all the roads are tarred, when the water leaks are fixed and when the street lights work, we not only make life easier for our citizens, we lay the foundation for investment and growth. The money is available for this, it just requires a committed government to deliver it.
Throughout my life, I have opposed injustice. It is what drives me. Today, the biggest injustice is that we do not provide economic opportunity to all. The dignity of a job must not be denied to anyone. We will grow the economy, and we will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. The DA will do this, because we have done it where we govern already.
The time for change is now! The moment to create a better future is upon us, in Ekurhuleni and in South Africa.
Let us bring change that cuts corruption, delivers services and creates jobs.
I am standing as DA Mayoral Candidate for Ekurhuleni because I am committed to change that improves the lives of our people.
Senior Media Officer: DA Gauteng Province
073 701 6729