My fellow South Africans,
Thank you for welcoming me to your community here in Roodepan. I love coming to the Northern Cape – the province with horizons as wide as the dreams and the potential of our nation.
As we launch our 2019 election campaign in this province today, I want to assure you that the DA is in it to win it here in the Northern Cape. This is a province ready for change, and if we put in the effort over the next six months, we can bring the ANC below 50% here and replace them with an honest and accountable DA-led government – the government this province deserves.
By now you will know that the DA’s election message is “Change that will build One SA for All”. But let me explain to you exactly what that means, and particularly in a context that the people of Roodepan, of Kimberley and of Sol Plaatje Municipality will understand very well.
You see, in this ANC government you get the exact opposite of our election message. Instead of building one united SA that works for all its people, they have deliberately created two distinct South Africas. One is made up of political and economic insiders – ANC politicians, members, cronies, friends and family. And the other is made up of outsiders – people without ANC connections and therefore without access to opportunities.
The way the ANC governs – and you’ll know this very well here in Sol Plaatje Municipality – is by rewarding some people for their loyalty at the ballot box, and punishing others for not voting for them. That’s not how democracy works, but the ANC doesn’t even pretend to be a true democratic organisation.
We have with us here today a number of young people who tried to apply for work opportunities in the government’s EPWP jobs programme in this municipality, but they were turned away because they couldn’t produce ANC membership cards. Those jobs are not reserved for supporters of a particular party, but the ANC uses them as bait to keep voters “loyal”.
We heard of voters here in this municipality who made it clear they were leaving the ANC for the DA. And immediately the ANC tried to entice them back with the promise of EPWP jobs – as if this is a resource that belongs to them and can be handed out at their discretion. But do you know what our councillors told them? They said “Take the job, because any work is good work. But then go ahead and vote for the DA next year anyway”.
And that’s my message to you too. If the ANC comes here in the next six months with promises of EPWP jobs, or with food parcels, or with infrastructure projects and upgrades that only happen before elections, take them. Any job, any food, any investment in your community is good. Take it, but then go and vote for a party that will serve you all year, every year. You don’t owe anyone your vote.
And I know it’s not only jobs that get manipulated in this way. The housing lists here in this municipality have no transparency whatsoever, and there is no intention at all to honour the time spent on the waiting list or the age of the person applying for government housing. We have 80 year olds living in shacks and we have housing developments full of 24 year-olds, because the register has been manipulated and obscured so that the friends and family of ANC councillors get preferential treatment.
That’s not one South Africa for All. That’s one South Africa for those with ANC connections, and another very different South Africa for everyone else.
I am told the previous ANC Mayor here was even caught on video telling a community in Ritchie that if they want service delivery, they must vote ANC. And he meant it, because he didn’t allocate any of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant to DA wards. That can’t be the way we govern in this democracy of ours. That’s not One SA for all.
Fellow South Africans, our biggest challenge in this country is to get people – and particularly young people – into jobs. In this province, a staggering 42% of adults cannot find work. This is an unacceptable statistic. If we can solve this, so much else will start falling into place.
But in order to do so we must realise that there are two elements to getting young people working. First, we must create these jobs by getting our economy growing through investment and enterprise. And second, we must ensure that these jobs are accessible to all South Africans, and not only to certain people with the right political affiliation or connections.
A DA government can and will ensure that both of these are achieved. Where we govern, we have shown what a massive difference clean and accountable government, combined with business-friendly policy, can do for job creation. According to the latest job numbers from Stats SA, more than half the jobs added in South Africa over the past year were created in the Western Cape. That’s a province with only 12% of the country’s working age population accounting for more than 50% of new jobs.
By supporting entrepreneurs, by doing away with unnecessary red tape, by ensuring a dependable supply of services like water, electricity and broadband internet, and by having a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, we made it clear that the province is open for business. Despite suffering a crippling three-year drought, the DA managed to keep the doors of the Western Cape open to investors and tourists alike.
It didn’t happen overnight, but after almost a decade of DA government in the Western Cape our track record is undeniable: only the DA can create the environment in which businesses want to invest and in which sustainable jobs are created.
And once these jobs are created, only a DA government guarantees fair access for all. You never hear of DA councillors demanding bribes in exchange for jobs. You never hear of DA members demanding sex for jobs. You never hear of people having to produce DA membership cards when they’re looking for work. That’s because we believe in a fair society, and not one made up of insiders and outsiders.
Fellow South Africans, six months from now we go to the polls to determine the future of our country. I want you to think about the South Africa you want to live in. I want you to think about the kind of country you would like your children to grow up in. A South Africa with opportunities for all – growing, inclusive and safe.
And then I want you to help us build that South Africa by lending your vote to the only party that can bring the change needed to build one South Africa for all its people.