We are ready to offer South Africa a new beginning
Note to Editors: The following statement was delivered by the DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, at a media briefing on the outcomes of the Party’s final Federal Council of 2017, which was held in Tshwane. Maimane was joined by DA National Spokesperson, Refiloe Nt’sekhe.
Over the past three days, the Federal Council of the Democratic Alliance (DA) – the party’s highest decision making-body between Federal Congress - convened in Tshwane for its final sitting of 2017. The agenda comprised of a number of pressing matters concerning the country and the Party. This press briefing serves to communicate the outcomes of the weekend’s sitting.
I would like to begin by congratulating the Democratic Alliance Students’ Organisation (DASO) on its overwhelming victory in the 2017/18 SRC elections at the University of Cape Town (UCT), announced over the past 24 hours. All 9 DASO candidates who ran were elected, and will now form the majority of the SRC at UCT. They join their colleagues at the University of Pretoria (Tuks), who won their SRC elections just over a month ago. These victories are an encouraging sign for progressive democracy on our universities campuses, and show that South Africans are fully behind open, diverse and transparent leadership that puts the people’s interests before any political party.
The “Road to 2019” is now well and truly underway. According to our polling, the ANC remains around the 50% mark nationally and faces the possibility of electoral defeat in the 2019 national elections. The people of South Africa have shown that they are finished with the ANC, and are ready for a new beginning under a DA-led national coalition government.
In order to prepare for national government, the DA has officially begun the process of crafting a new fleet of policy offers aimed at creating jobs and opportunity – especially for the youth, cutting corruption, and ultimately restoring hope for our country and its people.
Two policy documents integral to our vision for South Africa were tabled for discussion at this weekend’s Federal Council – one on fighting corruption, and the other on what we term “the opportunity ladder”, a cradle to career plan which intersects social development, basic education, higher education, and small business development.
At the centre of these policy ideas is a concrete plan to put an end to the cancer of corruption in government, and to ensure that we create opportunity and jobs for the millions of South Africans currently without hope.
Under the ANC government 4 children per day die avoidable deaths due to malnutrition, 9.3 million South Africans and counting are without a job, and more than half of all South Africans live in poverty. The ANC has betrayed our nation, and sold out by selling our country to the highest bidder. It is vital that a new beginning is ushered in – our country depends on it.
Some of the key features of these policy discussion documents include doubling the Child Support Grant to cover the nutritional needs of all poor children; introducing a Jobseekers Allowance for all unemployed young people who do not have a job; introducing a voluntary National Civilian Service year for matriculants to enter into work based training in the community healthcare, basic education or SAPS fields; and establishing an independent, effective and highly specialised, prosecution-driven anti-corruption unit to combat corruption – similar to the disbanded Scorpions.
These documents deal primarily with the supply side of the economy – equipping those left behind to play a meaningful role in our country and its economy. We are currently engaged in further policies aimed at growing the economy to include more South Africans by creating jobs and opportunity. Moreover, other new policy documents in the pipeline include one on crime and safety, which will add to our already adopted policy on universal health care, namely “Our Health Plan”.
While these documents are not final DA policy, they mark the beginning of the formulation, adoption, and eventually implementation of bold policy options that will bring total change and a new beginning for our nation. These policy proposals will go for further discussion with all party structures, as we want input from all citizens.
The DA is only party that has fresh ideas, a bold offer, and most importantly the ability to implement such policies in government come 2019.
Coalitions, partnerships, and the Road to 2019
Our country is approaching the most significant election since the dawn of democracy. 2019 will define whether South Africa can turn around our present decline, and grow to be the prosperous modern democracy that we envisage. We know what many voters are realising day by day - the ANC cannot self-correct, and we are determined that the 2019 election will see the end of the ANC’s occupation of the Union Buildings.
It is no secret that the ANC is currently at war with itself, and is imploding with each passing day. Different factions are taking legal action against one another in at least three provinces across the country.
From chair throws, to bloody noses, the ANC is broken.
The party is divided and unable to foster healthy internal democracy and competition. What is happening in provinces such as KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape is an apt representation of the ANC at large – an organisation wholly committed to self-enrichment and self-advancement – all at the expense of the South African people. In contrast, the DA is unified, running congresses with robust competition, and showing real signs of healthy internal democracy.
We have officially entered “congress season”, whereby leadership of all nine provinces will be up for election. This process officially begun last weekend, when the DA in the Western Cape elected a new leadership, under Bonginkosi Madikizela. This follows the DA's Eastern Cape congress held back in May this year, where a new provincial leadership was elected under Nqaba Bhanga.
Indeed, there will always be some levels of internal stress during congress season, but in the end we achieve democratic outcomes and unity of purpose. We look forward to the remaining seven provincial congresses, and we are confident that the outcomes of each will see bold, diverse, and committed leadership leading our party to victory in 2019 and beyond.
Federal Council also considered and deliberated on the existing coalitions and working partnerships with other political parties, which are vital to the performance and functioning of DA-led cities across the country. We are pleased to report back that our coalitions and partnerships are stable and functional – and are unequivocally committed to serving the communities that elected us.
In Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB), the coalition is stable, and all coalition partners are back on board in bringing change to the City. The government and council in NMB are hard at work to realise our manifesto of creating jobs, cutting corruption, and delivering quality services to the residents of the city.
In Tshwane and Johannesburg, our working partnership with the EFF is stable, and the EFF are back in council, and supporting our pro-poor agenda in those governments. We look forward to continuing our working partnership with the EFF, in order to keep the ANC out of government, and to keep making progress in our country’s major cities.
As I’ve said before, coalitions are a lot like marriage. They are far from perfect, take a lot of hard work, and often hit stumbling blocks due to miscommunication. But they are vital in bringing about change, and removing the ANC from governance across the country. As such, we continue to work with our partners across the board to ensure that the project of a post-ANC South Africa that works for all continues to succeed.
Federal Council considered a detailed report back on the progress our governments are making in metros across the country. While we are moving forward, and reversing the mess inherited from the ANC, there is still much more to be done to deliver the change that South Africans are desperate for.
We also considered the water crisis in the City of Cape Town. The City is hard at work on its consolidated plan to mitigate this crisis. For this, the City desperately requires the financial assistance of national government as per their constitutional and legal mandate. We therefore urge national government to provide financial aid in assisting our fight against the City’s water crisis. We once again urge citizens to use water sparingly, as this is a challenge that will require action from all of us.
Federal Council considered our country’s stubborn crime rate, especially violent crime which effects communities all across the country. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula must focus on his job – which is to tackle our country’s rampant crime rate. He must prioritise resourcing the police. It is a scandal that areas where poor and mainly black people live are the most under-resourced, with far too few police officers and vehicles. He must top wasting time on pointless social media campaigns and get serious about what victims of crime really need - a professional and trusted police service. This begins by reinstating the specialised gang and drugs units his ANC disbanded over a decade ago.
Lastly, the DA holds all public representatives to account, regardless of position. This is seen in the City of Cape Town, where there is an impasse between Mayor De Lille and Cllr Smith. I have moved to place both on special leave until the investigation into the matter is concluded and a finding is made. This should be concluded within 14 days.
Federal Council noted Friday’s judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), which found that the decision to drop 783 charges of fraud, corruption and racketeering against Jacob Zuma was irrational, and therefore set aside.
After almost a decade of fighting this matter through the courts, Jacob Zuma will finally have his day in court. The charges against Jacob Zuma now stand, and a court of law must hear this matter.
I have since written to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Shaun Abrahams, insisting that Jacob Zuma is served with an indictment and appears in court at the soonest available date. After over 8 years of delay tactics, the time has come for Jacob Zuma to appear before a court of law and answer to the charges as formulated almost a decade ago.
The DA has also begun the process of taking the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to court over their attempt to block black farmers from owning land which they were promised through the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development (LRAD) programme. Dozens of black farmers have been deprived of their right to own the land they farm, while the ANC government sits on almost 1.4 million hectares of land ready for distribution.
We believe that qualifying black farmers must have an ownership stake in the land they farm, ensuring economic empowerment and true freedom. Therefore we will be litigating on behalf of these farmers, to ensure the ANC government does just talk land reform, but practises it.
In addition to this, we welcome the investigation set up by Parliament’s Public Enterprises Committee to probe State Capture in several SOEs. However, we maintain that a centralised ad hoc committee on State Capture is desperately required to investigate State Capture in all its forms. We have written to the speaker of the National Assembly in this light, giving her until 31 October to do so, failing which we will consider the appropriate legal action.
Meeting with the IEC
Leaders of opposition parties will be meeting with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), in order to discuss a number of matters. These include the independence of the IEC, an update on the investigation into the ANC’s infamous “black ops’ operation, the appointment of the new IEC CEO, and ensuring that the 2019 elections are truly free and fair. This meeting will take place on 15 November this year.
South Africa’s time is running out under the ANC. We are not up against a Party of ideas, intellect or compassion, we are up against a visionless, corrupt and uncaring ANC. The DA has a lot of work to do, and our structures are alive to the hard task ahead of us. We are not doing what we do for the sake of governing; we are working to build a better country for all its people.
Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 15 October 2017