People of Metsimaholo can vote for fresh start – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader says his party running neck-and-neck with the ANC, and it could go either way

You can give Metsimaholo a new beginning!

Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered today (Saturday, 25 November 2017) by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane, ahead of the Metsimaholo by-election

My fellow South Africans,

In four days’ time the people of Metsimaholo Municipality will have a rare chance to do what many other South Africans wish they could do: To vote for a fresh start.

A chance to look at what’s happening in your country, in your province, in your municipality and in your community, and to say: My vote can help fix this.

These chances don’t come round often in between elections. Usually, at most, you’ll get to vote for one ward in a by-election. But to vote for an entirely new council is almost unheard of. It is a rare opportunity that you must grab with both hands.

On Wednesday you, the people of Sasolburg, Deneysville, Kragbron and Oranjeville, can choose a local government that works for you – that puts every cent of the budget into your communities and not into the pockets of the corrupt.

But if you want to make it work – if you want to kick the ANC out of this municipality for good – then every single voter is going to have to get to a voting station on Wednesday. We are running neck-and-neck with the ANC, and it could go either way.

The only difference will be the willingness of the people to go out there and claim their municipality. If you stay away from the voting stations on Wednesday, Metsimaholo will go back to the ANC, and your communities will suffer again for years.

Trust me, the ANC will not let go here easily. We have already seen that they will use every dirty trick in the book to try to take back Metsimaholo. Why else did Premier Ace Magashule suddenly announce a whole string of government projects in the Municipality, right before the elections? Houses, a park, a community centre – all funded by the state but branded by the ANC.

He did this back in the 2011 elections too, and the Public Protector wrote a whole report on all the things he did wrong by abusing state resources for party purposes. Clearly the findings of this report have been completely ignored, because he’s doing it all over again. And he’s doing it because he’s scared.

The ANC knows exactly what it lost here in 2016 when the new coalition government unseated them. They lost the first ever Free State municipality to the opposition. And this was a major blow to them, because they know very well what it means when you start losing municipalities in a province.

They saw what happened in the Western Cape. They saw what happened in Gauteng. They saw what happened in the Eastern Cape. Once you start losing municipalities, and the people in other areas get to see what a new, clean government can do, they want the same for themselves. It creates a momentum that is hard to stop.

Ace Magashule and his Free State ANC could see what was coming, and so they deliberately undermined the will of the people here by turning the Mayor against the coalition. They got Mayor Sello Hlasa, from the 5% MCA, to pull out of the coalition, replace all DA MMC members and try to push through a budget that had no benefit to the poor.

There was no other option but to dissolve this municipality. The ANC had completely broken the pact between voters and government. They had cheated you out of the government you voted for.

So now we need to do it all over again, but this time round we must ensure that we don’t have to rely on a party like the MCA to form a government. Now that we know about their relationship with the ANC, we have to win enough votes so we can cut them out of the loop.

Fellow South Africans, I have been saying for some time now that the ANC is dead. And I’m not the only one. More and more people are realising that the ANC of Zuma and Magashule has nothing to do with the party that helped liberate our country from Apartheid. Our future will be built without them.

We are about to embark on a new journey for our country – one in which the ANC no longer plays a leading role. For most people, this journey will start in 2019, when they get to elect a new national government. But for you, the people of Metsimaholo Municipality, the journey begins on Wednesday.

There are 79,000 registered voters in this municipality. If you want what’s best for you and your children – if you want a government that delivers for all, that looks after your money and that brings jobs back to these communities – then every single one of you is going to have to make his or her vote count.

You can’t cling to the hope that the ANC will one day save itself and start caring about the people again. That’s not going to happen – it’s too far gone already. The ANC is dead.

If you want a fresh start, then you are going to have to go out and make it happen yourself by voting for the DA on Wednesday.

With your vote, you can take back your own future.

Thank you.

Issued by the DA 25 November 2017