Know Your DA: The untold story of our fight against the legacy of apartheid
[Note to editors: These remarks were delivered in Johannesburg today at the launch of the second phase of the ‘Know Your DA' campaign]
The DA began this year by telling the untold story about our party - the story of the proud role we played in fighting apartheid.
The response to the ‘Know Your DA' campaign was overwhelmingly positive. After being subjected to our opponents' propaganda for so long, many people were astonished to learn the truth.
Some people asked us why we were we telling the DA's story now. What had it taken so long, they asked?
Others said that we should be focusing on the future instead of the past. Why look back when what we need most is a forward-looking vision, they wondered?
The answer is simply this: people become more receptive to our plans for the future when they learn that we opposed apartheid in the past.
Now that we have set the record straight about our past, we are moving into the next phase of ‘Know Your DA'. In this phase, we are correcting another falsehood peddled by our political opponents: the lie that we want to bring apartheid back.
Our opponents say that we will do this by taking away people's social grants, by stopping the redistribution of land and by abolishing Black Economic Empowerment.
Anybody who has read our policies knows that none of this true. In fact, the opposite is true.
The DA supports social grants. We support social grants because they are vital to protect the poor from the impact of extreme poverty.
The DA supports land reform. We support land reform because we must correct the evils of the apartheid system that reserved the best land for whites only.
The DA supports Black Economic Empowerment. We support broad-based Black Economic Empowerment because we want to build an inclusive economy in which everybody has a fair chance of getting ahead in life.
This is the simple message we will be taking all over South Africa over the next few months. Our ground troops are being mobilized as we speak to deliver this message to 15 million people.
We will also be releasing detailed policy documents on land reform, social welfare and Black Economic Empowerment. The discussion document on economic inclusion we are releasing today unequivocally sets out our support for Black Economic Empowerment.
As you can see, we have also erected this massive billboard in the centre of Johannesburg which sets out our support for Black Economic Empowerment in no uncertain terms.
We want to send out the clear signal that we are completely committed to redressing the legacy of apartheid. We fought apartheid for nearly fifty years, and we are fighting its legacy today.
That is why the DA is completely committed to broad-based Black Economic Empowerment or B-BBEE as one of the most important ways of redressing the wrongs of the past.
This does not mean that we agree with the way that the government has implemented B-BBEE. And it does not mean that our version of B-BBEE is exactly the same as the governments.
Our frustration is that, up until now, Black Economic Empowerment has focused on the transfer of lucrative shares to a small number of politically connected individuals who have become very rich without starting new enterprises, adding new value or creating new jobs.
To correct this, we support the use of a B-BEE scorecard to stimulate investment by the business community in a broad range of empowerment measures - including skills development, enterprise development and social investment.
Today, the DA is launching an alternative B-BBEE scorecard. Our proposed changes would achieve a number of objectives.
- It would be genuinely broad-based by creating jobs and lifting poor South Africans out of poverty;
- It would create new jobs by recognising business contribution to education and skills training;
- It would encourage the growth of new businesses by creating an enabling environment and cutting red tape; and,
- And it would introduce ‘equity equivalents' to encourage a range of contributions to economic growth, such as enterprise creation, and skills and infrastructure development.
The DA's version of Black Economic Empowerment would go so much further in broadening opportunity for black South Africans.
We fought apartheid in the past and we are fighting its legacy in the present.
We are doing it by advocating policies that lead to economic growth and job creation.
We are doing it by delivering better services to the poor where we govern.
And we are doing it by supporting the fundamental tenets of land reform, social grants and Black Economic Empowerment.
The DA will build an inclusive economy that creates jobs. That is our promise to every South African. And this is the next chapter of our untold story.
Issued by Mmusi Maimane, DA Premier Candidate for Gauteng, September 9 2013
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